Gas drillers get their own caucus | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Gas drillers get their own caucus

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 3:20 PM

Education caucus. Environmental caucus. Human justice caucus.

Never seen one.

But let somebody try to propose effective regulation or fair recompense from the natural resource plunderers tearing up roads and threatening water supplies and seismic zones and a group of legislators immediately springs up in defense. As if the out-of-state gas drillers, who send finite Arkansas resources to out-of-state customers, need help, given the huge profits and how they throw it around to the right legislative candidates.

Following is news of the formation of the Legislative Take the Money and Run Fayetteville Shale Caucus. All but three members are from the corporate party, otherwise known as Republicans.

You need not look far to see the success of voluntary compliance with environmental protection laws and fair share payments for detrimental side effects. There is no such record. It is certainly not the aim of this new group.



Little Rock - The investment of natural gas drilling capital has become highly competitive nationally. There is rising concern that some of the regulatory and tax legislation proposed this legislative session could damage the Fayetteville Shale Play's competitive standing in the
marketplace which could lead to lost jobs and revenue to the state. In a show of unity, legislators from both chambers and both political parties organized into a caucus today for the purpose of discussing and
protecting one of the main economic engines of their districts.

Overall, there have been 27 bills filed that would affect natural gas drilling in the state.

The Fayetteville Shale Caucus issues the following statement:

"We all have issues that our constituents want addressed. Sometimes, however, people file bills with good intent that effect the lives and jobs of people not in their district. It's become pretty clear the Fayetteville Shale Play has become a target for a lot of recent legislation. The Fayetteville Shale is an economic engine that we must
protect. Our goal is to protect the economic impact of the affected counties while working with the industry folks to encourage good corporate citizenship. We think we can do that without a ton of legislation. Hopefully, the people will appreciate the bi-partisan cooperation and the unity between members of different chambers.

We, and many of our colleagues, agree that we need to send the right message to the business community that we appreciate their business and can find ways to work pro-actively through issues. The Fayetteville Shale Play is important to the long-term economic future of our districts and also the State of Arkansas. We are confident this will be a constructive working group that will strengthen the relationship between this important industry and the people of Arkansas."

Announced Caucus Members:

State Representative Mark Biviano (R-Searcy)
State Representative Robert Dale (R-Dover)
State Representative Jane English (R-North Little Rock)
State Representative Jeremy Gillam (R-Judsonia)
State Representative Andrea Lea (R-Russellville)
State Representative Josh Johnston (R-Rose Bud)
State Representative Stephen Meeks (R-Greenbrier)
State Representative David Meeks (R-Conway)
State Representative David Sanders (R-Little Rock)
State Representative Tommy Thompson (D-Morrilton)
State Representative Linda Tyler (D-Conway)

State Senator Gilbert Baker (R-Conway)
State Senator Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe)
State Senator Michael Lamoureux (R-Russellville)
State Senator Jason Rapert (R-Bigelow)
State Senator David Wyatt (D-Batesville)

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