Arkansas Business headlines Dec. 21

    7:33 AM, Dec 21, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Arkansas Business) -- Arkansas Business Internet editor Lance Turner stops by "THV 11 News This Morning" to give you the latest business news on Dec. 21.

    Trading light on Thursday as it became more obvious to investors there won't be a fiscal cliff solution before the market takes a break for Christmas.

    But some good news as the price of oil continued to fall, closing yesterday under the $90 mark at $89.67.

    Everything from a warmer autumn to Hurricane Sandy keeping traffic in the northeast light have been given as reasons for the drop.

    The average price of a gallon of gas around Little Rock at around three dollars, with many stations selling fuel for as low as $2.81 -- all well under the national average of $3.25.

    Elsewhere in Arkansas, a controversial coal plant has fired up operations in southwest Arkansas.

    Southwestern Electric Power Company -- or Swepco -- began producing electricity at the $1.8 billion plant on Thursday.

    Construction of the plant was temporarily halted after land owners and environmentalists filed suit against Swepco. Concessions were made to the groups and the lawsuits were withdrawn last year.

    An official opening ceremony will be held next April.

    Speaking of environmental concerns -- state officials still unable to clear the air with the Environmental Protection Agency over air quality in the Delta.

    The EPA says ozone levels are still too high in the Memphis area, including Crittenden County and West Memphis.

    State, county and city officials in the area had appealed the EPA's rating of the area as a "non-attainment" zone.

    That rating, which says the area isn't meeting certain air quality guidelines -- means that it's harder to lure industry to the region.

    And a 180,000-SF Wal-Mart store, set to open in fall 2014, is expected be the lead project for a new retail development in Springdale.

    Wal-Mart announcing plans to build the Supercenter on 28 acres of farmland it purchased on the west side of the city. Officials for the retailer said the new store will create between 300-350 jobs.

    In all, developers envision the Supercenter as part of a 70-acre retail project.

    (Source: Arkansas Business)

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