Favorite

Shale needs study 

The League of Women Voters of Arkansas committed to study gas drilling in the Fayetteville Shale Play in order to have an informed understanding of Arkansas's transforming phenomenon. In honoring the league's longstanding tradition of looking at all sides of an issue, the LWVAR study included environmental reports showing serious issues that were receiving little media attention. While a potential economic boon creates enthusiasm, long-term impacts have to be factored into the ultimate value of any activity.

Arkansas is fortunate to have an experienced sister state to turn to for information. Texas' development of the larger Barnett Shale Play is about two years ahead of activity here. Where many federal laws have been relaxed to benefit gas drilling, states have had to move quickly to legislate protection for their air and water. Companies resist severance taxes and management practices they see as costly, but rapidly escalating energy values reward their efforts far beyond original projections and break-even points.

For sudden wealth to appear at a time when many other states are in economic decline is certainly Arkansas's good fortune. But what are the hidden costs to water, infrastructure, long-term public health and economic sustainability? The state does not have an adequate system in place to monitor and regulate the current pace of operations. Voices of caution are made out to be anti-progressive or environmentally radical. While companies benefit from accelerating activity, slowing down the process is needed to allow corrective measures to be taken to minimize negative impacts.

After a full year's study, the LWVAR arrived at these consensus positions regarding the Fayetteville Shale Play:

1. Establish a single state water authority to coordinate use and regulation.

2. Provide greater funding for regulatory oversight that is not merely complaint driven.

3. Provide greater protection of landowners' surface rights and riparian areas.

4. Provide full disclosure of chemical additives used that are capable of infiltrating groundwater or producing air pollution.

5. Restructure the severance tax so that it is based on market value rather than volume produced and set at a rate comparable to the region. (Achieved April 2008.)

6. Establish a fund to cover infrastructure changes and damage in areas which are impacted by gas drilling.

There is much to be done to improve our regulations and drilling practices. Repairs are always more expensive than preventing damage in the first place. Arkansas has a lot to gain and a lot to lose.

 

Mary Alice Serafini of Fayetteville is president of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas.

 

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Guest

  • Climate action good for Arkansas

    Thirty-five Senate Republicans and three Democrats, including U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, support Senate Resolution 26 to block the federal Environmental Protection Agency from reducing greenhouse gas emissions from large emitters like coal power plants.
    • Feb 11, 2010
  • No country for old country

    Jeff Bridges plays it broke-down in ‘Crazy Heart.’
    • Feb 4, 2010
  • Needed: Strong Estate Tax

    On New Year’s Day the estate tax, an essential part of the U.S. tax system for nearly 100 years, disappeared because Congress failed to act in December. Congressional leaders now are pledging to act in early 2010 to reinstate the federal estate tax retroactive to Jan. 1. In the meantime, rhetoric over the estate tax will heat up.
    • Feb 4, 2010
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Why a change of leadership at the LRSD now?

    Johnny Key's abrupt, unilateral decision to not renew Baker Kurrus' contract as superintendent strikes us as shortsighted, misguided and detrimental to the education of our children and the health of our community.
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016

Most Shared

  • Judge Griffen dismisses execution challenge; says hands tied by 'shameful' Ark. Supreme Court ruling

    Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled today that he had no choice based on  a past Arkansas Supreme Court decision  but to dismiss a lawsuit by Death Row inmates seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection process.But the judge did so unhappily with sharp criticism of the Arkansas Supreme Court for failing to address critical points raised in the lawsuit.
  • Metroplan sets public hearing on 30 Crossing

    The controversial 30 Crossing project to fatten up seven miles of Interstate 30 from U.S. Highway 67 in North Little Rock to Interstate 530 in Little Rock will once again get a public hearing, thanks to a vote of the Metroplan board Wednesday.
  • New suit argues Bruce Ward mentally unfit for execution

    A new lawsuit argues that Bruce Ward, scheduled to die by lethal injection next month, is not mentally competent to be executed. It says his condition has been worsened by decades of solitary confinement.

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Seven

    The controversy over the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol lawn just won't go away.
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • No relief for renters

    If you are hoping to see new laws that improve rights for people who rent homes or apartments in Arkansas, you will find disappointing two bills proposed so far this legislative session — SB 25, by Sen. Blake Johnson (R-Corning), and HB 1166, by Rep. Laurie Rushing (R-Hot Springs). Even if both bills become statute, Arkansas would still have the worst landlord tenant laws in the country.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • Let them eat cake

    An unproductive and harmful bill attempting to curb obesity passed easily out of committee last week at the state legislature. House Bill 1035 attempts to address this serious public health issue by preventing poor families who rely on SNAP (the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly called food stamps) from purchasing certain items such as candy and sodas.
    • Jan 26, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Brant Collins named Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

Collins to work toward increasing visitation to Arkansas by groups and promoting the state's appeal

Event Calendar

« »

March

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Hope for Gray

    The Arkansas Democratic Party recently elected House Minority Leader Michael John Gray (D-Augusta), a Woodruff County farmer, over Denise Garner, a retired oncology nurse practitioner and founder of Feed Communities of Fayetteville, to replace outgoing chair Vince Insalaco of Little Rock.
  • Never his fault

    Unlike his personal hero Vladimir Putin, President Trump can't have his political opponents thrown into prison, shot dead in the street or flung off fourth-floor balconies.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: More on pits

    • And don't tell me you care about any toddler. That toddler's suffering is but a…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: More on pits

    • Many different dogs bite many different people. Before reacting out of hysteria and ignorance, better…

    • on March 30, 2017
  • Re: Never his fault

    • Good point. Onward!

    • on March 30, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation