Federal wildlife officials say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should turn thumbs-down on a plan to build a power plant in wetlands along the Ouachita River near Malvern. Karen Dove-Jackson, an evaluator for the corps, said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrote during a public comment period that it opposed the plant, which would be built by Duke Energy of Houston, Texas. The corps is evaluating the area around the proposed site to determine if it is suitable to support a power plant. The tribe would like the area surveyed to ensure there are no cultural artifacts there. About 62 1/2 acres of wetlands would be affected. The Arkansas Archeological Survey requested additional archeological assessments in the area, noting an archeological site has been discovered in the area. "The ultimate goal is to have no impact or no loss of wetlands,'' Dove-Jackson said. "They have to show why it has to be in a wetlands.'' The plant would generate electric energy with steam using natural gas as fuel. Fish and Wildlife "recommended that the permit not be issued" because impacts on the wetlands would be too significant. Duke Energy needs approval from the corps if it is to dredge or fill in any wetlands.
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