Town Hall Mtgs

We joined a news conference September 27, 2012, at the State Capitol and delivered to Governor’s Beebe’s Office the public comments and children’s drawings from 4 Clean Energy Town Hall meetings in Little Rock, Fayetteville, Conway and Pine Bluff.

See one news clip here: KARK News

speaker at Clean Energy Town Hall meeting

Tuesday, September 11, 7-8:30pm

About 80 attended, and many spoke up for the planet.Mills Center, Hendrix College, Conway

Previous Town Hall Meetings
On Thursday, July 26, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light co-hosted a second Clean Energy Town Hall meeting with the Arkansas Sierra Club. About 45 people attended a panel discussion on the benefits of clean energy: environmental benefits, health benefits, economic benefits. The event was a perfect forum for a community conversation on our concerns regarding climate change. How can the faith community and the environmental community work together to address our shared concerns?

Immediately following, the group hosted a reception for Lev Guter, Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” representative in Northwest Arkansas.

On Thursday, June 22, 2012 the Central Arkansas Chapter of Interfaith Power and Light co-hosted a Town Hall meeting on the Governor’s Pending Energy Plan. Working with the Arkansas Sierra Club, Ark. IPL shared recommendations by Arkansas Governor Beebe. Recommendations were presented and discussed on the campus of Philander Smith College. Rev. Malik Saafir was one of the panelists.

The next day the following news article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette daily newspaper
 Note: Rev. Saafir’s name is mis-spelled in the published news article.

Town Hall meeting

Fracking a worry at energy meeting

100 gather at LR college to discuss power alternatives

By Emily Walkenhorst

This article was published June 22, 2012 at 4:25 a.m.

LITTLE ROCK — About 100 people attended a public meeting Thursday at Philander Smith College in Little Rock to discuss energy policy and the future of Arkansas.

The Sierra Club co-hosted the event with Interfaith Power and Light, a national organization focusing on global warming from a religious perspective.

Suggestions for new policy included focusing on job creation and producing less natural gas and oil in favor of solar power and wind power.

Many audience members shared stories of living near oil and gas drilling sites where fracking is used to extract the resources from the ground. Fracking is the process of injecting thousands of barrels of water mixed with sand and chemicals into a well to maximize oil or natural gas flow.

Sandra Ballew, 58, said the stream she swam in as a child now has low-level radiation.

“It’s awful,” said audience member Dirk DeTurck, cofounder of the Concerned Citizens Advisory Group. DeTurck’s organization was founded in response to earthquakes they believe to be a result of fracking.

DeTurck lives near a natural gas drilling site in Greenbrier.

“We need to end our addiction to oil and gas,” De-Turck concluded. “It should have been done in the ’70s but has been put off and put off and put off …”

Audience members also focused on transportation energy: raising standards for miles per gallon, fuel emissions and public transportation.

Glen Hooks, senior campaign representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, said he likes the progress Gov. Mike Beebe has made when it comes to environmental policy.

“My message to the governor: Keep doing what you’re doing but more of it,” he said.

Lev Guter of the Sierra Club said he hopes more meetings like the one Thursday night will lead to a more cohesive public voice when environmentalists make suggestions for Beebe’s energy plan.

E-mailing lists might enhance group communication too, he said.

Mikel Lolley, vice president of stewardship with the Treadwell Institute, challenged the audience to concentrate on some core issues in energy policy.

“If we can’t get together on a couple of issues, we won’t be able to make a difference to the governor,” he said.

People should focus on a shared impact, said Malik Saarif of Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light, the state chapter of the national organization. He suggested energy has an effect on the health on all people, wealthy or poor.

“If a rich person turns on their tap or buys bottled water and it’s contaminated, they’re just as affected,” Saarif said. “Health concerns are really the commonality we need to build on.”

Saarif said a solid voice should be achieved through targeting low-income communities, which are more affected by lacking energy efficiency and often don’t have the resources or environmental education to do something about it.

“If we could bring these meetings to where people are most affected, then you could get a lot of backing,” Saarif said.