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Mobile Office Locations for Remainder of August

Rutledge Announces Mobile Office Locations for Remainder of August

Wed, Aug 12, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced mobile office locations for the remainder of August.

Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to make the office accessible to everyone, particularly to those who live outside the capital city.

The mobile offices assist constituents with consumer-related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call 501-682-2007 or 800-482-8982. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.

The upcoming mobile office schedule is below:

Nashville

Tuesday, Aug. 18

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Howard County Senior Citizens Center

206 E. Howard St.

Nashville, AR 71852

Murfreesboro

Tuesday, Aug. 18

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Murfreesboro City Hall

204 E. Main St.

Murfreesboro, AR 71958

Berryville

Thursday, Aug. 20

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Carroll County Senior Activity and Wellness Center

202 W. Madison Ave.

Berryville, AR 72616

Huntsville

Thursday, Aug. 20

2 – 4 p.m.

Madison County Senior Activity and Wellness Center

903 N. College St.

Huntsville, AR 72740

Paragould

Wednesday, Aug. 26

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Paragould Community Center

3404 Linwood Drive

Paragould, AR 72450

Jonesboro

Wednesday, Aug. 26

2 – 4 p.m.

Earl Bell Community Center

1212 S. Church St.

Jonesboro, AR 72401

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Challenging EPA’s Rejection of  Power Plant Plans

Rutledge Joins 16 States in Challenging the EPA’s Rejection of Plans Regarding Startup, Shutdown or Malfunction of Power Plants

Tue, Aug 11, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has joined Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in a 17-State coalition to challenge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for illegally invalidating the individual air quality protection plans in those States. In June, the EPA issued a final rule requiring 35 States, including Arkansas, to revise their individual State Implementation Plans (SIP) governing excess emissions during startup, shutdown or malfunction.

The States, led by Florida, have filed a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the Court to review the EPA’s final rule. Besides the clear violation of State’s rights enumerated in the Clean Air Act, the final rule also stands to stall or reverse progress already achieved in improving air quality in each State.

“Once again, the EPA is choosing to put the political interests of the Sierra Club ahead of Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “In yet another ‘sue and settle’ case, the EPA is rushing to appease the interests of the Sierra Club and force 35 States to alter their SIPs even though the plans are already succeeding. The EPA is completely ignoring the scope of its authority under the Clean Air Act in order to force another overreaching rule on Arkansans.”

For decades, States have ensured compliance with the standards set for startup, shutdown or malfunction through their individual SIPs.

The EPA’s final rule illegally requiring the states to change their previously approved SIPs came after the Agency agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club. The EPA’s rush to settle the matter has led the agency to adopt an illegal final rule that is in conflict with the Clean Air Act and infringes on Arkansas’s right to determine the most effective strategy for achieving air quality standards.

The Clean Air Act establishes a cooperative-federalism approach to regulating the nation’s air quality and dictates that the EPA has the primary responsibility to identify air pollutants that pose a threat to public health. Through the Act, the EPA is charged to set national air quality standards, but the Act gives States the primary responsibility to determine how to achieve those standards.

In addition to Arkansas and Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia have also joined this challenge.

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Arrest of Lonoke County Man

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Lonoke County Man for Crimes Involving Children

Fri, Aug 7, 2015

LONOKE – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of John Elwain Herndon of Austin on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child, a Class B felony.

Herndon, 63, was arrested by the Attorney General’s Special Investigations Division at his home on Thursday, August 6. He is a registered sex offender and is accused of downloading and offering to distribute sexually explicit images of children. Herndon was also arrested for parole violations at the same time.

Herndon is being held in the Lonoke County Jail on $250,000 bond awaiting arraignment this fall. The Attorney General’s Office will turn over its completed investigative file to Lonoke County Prosecutor Chuck Graham. The Lonoke County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the arrest.

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Protecting Arkansas

Protecting Arkansas

Thu, Aug 6, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Today, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The piece detailed why Rutledge has challenged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its Waters of the U.S. rule.

Having grown up near the banks of the White River in the Ozark foothills, I fully appreciate the clean water that helps make us the Natural State. Like all Arkansans, I want to protect our clean water for future generations, but there is currently a push from aggressive Washington, D.C. bureaucrats to control all water in Arkansas, even roadside ditches, because they think they know how to protect our clean water better than we do. On June 29, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) published the final Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule to be implemented on August 28. The new rule, at over 370 pages, seeks to expand the definition of the Clean Water Act’s “navigable waters” to include small tributaries and other bodies of water close to lakes and rivers, but instead of clarifying an already confusing federal law, it only adds greater uncertainty.

The EPA and the Corps chose to blatantly ignore that Congress recognized that the States should retain their authority over State land and water resources. However, I firmly believe that Arkansas, not Washington, knows how to ensure protection of our clean waters without creating severe economic harm for farmers, businesses and towns, and more importantly, without destroying the property rights of landowners.

With the new WOTUS rule, the EPA has unlawfully exceeded the limitations that Congress intentionally placed on the federal agencies under the Clean Water Act.

In response, I have partnered with 12 other States and filed a lawsuit to challenge the legality of the WOTUS rule. The EPA and the Corps have overstepped the limits of the law by attempting to expand the federal government’s authority over small streams, tributaries and even ditches within our State. It is my duty as Attorney General to protect the interests of the many farmers, landowners and small business owners across Arkansas by preventing implementation of this harmful rule.

I firmly believe that Arkansas is in the best position to safeguard its clean water resources so the needs of the State’s agricultural and business communities are protected. Across the country, the States have shown a superior ability to communicate with local businesses on the meaning of environmental rules and, even more importantly, how those rules will be enforced.

This is not the first time the EPA or the Corps have attempted to reach beyond their jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court has already had to step in twice when the agencies have attempted to exceed their legal authority through unlawful enforcement of the Clean Water Act. In 2001 and 2006, the Supreme Court ruled against the Corps and its interpretation of the Clean Water Act. But now the agencies are attempting to take advantage of the court’s ambiguity in those decisions by expanding the court’s narrow rulings to meet their policy goals.

While on the surface the WOTUS rule works to make it more clear which bodies of water are included under the definition, it brings potentially dangerous consequences for the agricultural community and other landowners. The final rule includes tributaries that show “any physical signs of flowing water,” even if they are not running year round, and ditches that could potentially “carry pollution downstream.” There is no doubt that the rule defines what bodies of water are included because it gives the agencies authority over almost every body of water.

This rule creates a high probability that a landowner or farmer will be subject to new, major regulations, burdensome permitting and hefty fines by the EPA and the Corps. Noncompliance could result in fines of up to $37,500 per day and criminal charges.

The States’ victory in the recent Supreme Court decision in Michigan v. EPA helps to serve as a reminder to the EPA that it is not above the law and of the consequences for audacious disregard of its limitations. As the court emphasized in this case the need for serious consideration of costs in the regulatory process, I am concerned that the WOTUS rule will not provide greater protection for Arkansas’s water resources and will impose greater costs on Arkansans through unnecessary and overly bureaucratic regulations.

Rest assured, I will fight to protect Arkansas from Washington bureaucrats seeking to advance policy goals without Congressional authority, and I look forward to joining you in enjoying Arkansas’s clean water for generations to come.

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Request to EPA for Stay in Clean Power Plan

Rutledge Joins with 15 Other States to ask the EPA for Stay in its Clean Power Plan

Wed, Aug 5, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement after she joined 15 other States to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for an immediate stay of its Clean Power Plan pending the outcome of an impending legal challenge to the rule.

“The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is the wrong direction,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “When it was announced earlier this week, I indicated that I was prepared to take any and all appropriate legal action to protect Arkansans from this unlawful plan, and that is exactly what I, and 15 other States, have done today. This stay is an important first step as legal action is planned.”

The stay request filed today with the EPA asks the agency to halt implementation of the plan until the courts have a chance to rule on its legality.

“Absent an immediate stay, the Section 111(d) Rule will coerce the States to expend enormous public resources and to put aside sovereign priorities to prepare State Plans of unprecedented scope and complexity,” the States write in the stay request. “In addition, the States’ citizens will be forced to pay higher energy bills as power plants shut down. In the end, the courts are likely to conclude that the Section 111(d) Rule is unlawful. At the very minimum, the States and their citizens should not be forced to suffer these serious harms until the courts have had an opportunity to review the Rule’s legality.”

The coalition has asked that the EPA take action on this stay request by Friday, Aug. 7.

Rutledge was joined in this request by the States of Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

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EPA’s Clean Power Plan ‘Unlawful’ and ‘Out-of-Touch’

Rutledge Calls EPA’s Clean Power Plan ‘Unlawful’ and ‘Out-of-Touch’

Mon, Aug 3, 2015

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today released a statement following the announcement from President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the final Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through implementation of section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

“Today, the EPA has once again decided to move forward with a plan that goes beyond the rule of law,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Let me be clear. I favor clean air and will do everything I can to preserve it for future generations, but an out-of-touch plan that proposes even deeper cuts than the original 2014 version is not a balanced approach. In 2013, Arkansas received over half of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, and if this plan is fully implemented, Arkansas rate payers will certainly see their energy rates increase. The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, the Arkansas Public Service Commission and other State stakeholders are in a much better position to protect the State's clean air. Today's plan is simply the wrong direction and completely ignores the concerns that have been raised over the past several years about anticipated cost increases. My office continues to review the unlawful Clean Power Plan and is prepared to take any and all appropriate legal action to prevent its implementation.”

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