by Max Brantley
While most in Arkansas worship the dollars that shale exploration will bring to Arkansas -- at least to a few -- and while Game and Fish fights on to keep every dollar it gets for trading wildlife refuges for mineral exploitation, other states are more advanced in getting the bigger picture.
There's the sad reality of a landowner's impotence in the face of pipeline construction.
This impotence extends to people in residential subdivisions. (Check the video first. And if you have time notice how Chesapeake, a media master, has been seeding the comments thread on this issue.)
If you think this is only a not-in-my-literal-backyard issue, consider the broader environmental questions. There are many. But here's one that's had scant discussion in Arkansas. Check out Newsweek's report on the potential dangers of the chemicals used in drilling in shale formations. The chemical stew is poured into open pits that leach into water supplies and streams and spill on people with unpleasant results. Scary stuff. Colorado is stiffening its environmental rules. Heard any talk about that here? Not much. It is the Arkansas way. Be grateful for whatever pennies trickle down, worship the almsgivers and worry later about the harmful side effects.
On jump: Newsweek gets a comment from an Arkansas reader.
Comment: My local newspaper will not print a word of this - our beautiful Ozark region of north central Arkansas is being overrun with these gas wells. Right now within 1200 feet of my back door a new well has been started within the past two weeks - the noise is unrelenting 24 hours a day, the smell as yet not constant is never lhe less out there, some of it smells like WD-40 is as close as I can describe it - I live upwind and uphill thru the woods and up a small creek where they have built a hugh pond that has stopped the flow of the creek and the wildlife has been invaded. This spring's turkey hatch that I see here in my woods yearly did not happen this year, the turkey have all left, the deer and fawns have no peace here, the foxes come right up to the back door - I have to keep my cats indoors now even though I have 25 acres of woods bought just for the privacy and peace and quite and style of life I looked for at retirement. Any day now I expect to be forced to allow a gas pipeline thru my place. It is not an option if the gas people want to do it, they will do it. I have a water well by choice, who knows what is going to happen to my drinking water, who cares? This is not Alaska, this is Arkansas.