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— The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission on Friday denied a motion by the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society to halt work on the coal-fired power plant under construction in Hempstead County.

The groups argued that a decision by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which required a Louisville, Ky., utility to provide a specific analysis of its proposed coal plant's environmental impact, means the owner of the Arkansas plant must stop building the plant until it does a similar analysis.

Southwest Electric Power Co., a subsidiary of American Electric Power Co. in Columbus, Ohio, is building the $2.1 billion John W. Turk power plant project about 15 miles northeast of Texarkana.

In June, the Arkansas Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the Arkansas Public Service Commission's approval of the plant, where work has proceeded for more than a year toward its scheduled 2012 startup.

The Arkansas Supreme Court has not ruled on SWEPCO's request for a review, leaving the plant's approval intact in the meantime.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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