Monday, April 1, 2013

Another major oil spill; and Nate Bell pulls back on eminent domain bill

Posted By on Mon, Apr 1, 2013 at 6:47 AM

By EPA standards, the oil spill at Mayflower wasn't the only major one in Arkansas this month.

See Mike McNeil's Magnolia Reporter.

Its story details a "mess" in Union Columbia County, where 1,500 barrels of oil from a Lion Oil Tank farm poured into the dry bed of Little Corney Creek on March 9.

If you're counting.

NATE BELL: Says eminet domain bill dead this session.
  • NATE BELL: Says eminet domain bill dead this session.
RELATED: The oil leaks have prompted discussion here and among environmental groups concerned about the perils of gas exploration in Arkansas about HB 1042, a bill by the dangerous duo of Rep. Nate Bell and Sen. Jason Rapert on use of eminent domain. As originally written, the bill continued existing protection for eminent domain by pipeline companies but also changed the code in a way that several analysts contended could make it even easier for gas companies to build pipelines over the land of unwilling property owners. The bill got amended last week, seemingly to change this among other elements.

Rapert began disavowing connection with the bill this weekend when it was brought up during discussion of the massive12,000-barrel oil spill in his legislative district in Mayflower. And Bell reacted sharply, too. I believe him when he says that his primary concern is curbing use of eminent domain (though the Arkansas Constitution already provides a stronger protection to property owners than was provided in Connecticut in the Kelo case that has energized people like Bell.) But the question about pipeline operations was real and Bell's inability or unwillingness to deal with it straight up wasn't encouraging. Nor was his subsequent comments that the bill is apparently a product of a think tank, the Institute for Justice, financed by the Koch brothers. It so happens, incidentally, that the Kochs own a refinery to which heavy crude is shipped by pipeline to Texas for conversion to products to ship overseas. Last I heard, the Kochs also financed the Arkansas chapter of Americans for Prosperity, which a while back employed Bell's wife. Coincidentally.

But there is good news. Bell said on his Facebook page yesterday (down in the comments on this Facebook link) that HB 1042 is dead for this legislative session. Too many objections. Too much other mischief to do.

ALSO: You might want to check this Facebook page, of a group that works to rescue animals, such as birds fouled by oil in the Mayflower spill. Photo below is typical, of an oil-coated teal.

teal.jpg

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