The lobbyists are out in full force. Rep. John Dismang's bill to limit the ability of gas producers to claim eminent domain in order to build their pipelines comes up before the agriculture committee tomorrow in the House. You can learn more about the bill here and here, or just read it for yourself. Chesapeake is sending out robocalls telling locals to call Dismang and express their opposition. Dismang said he has called each constituent back and says that once he explained his position and what the bill was really about, they ended up agreeing with him.
"This issue is basically asking the question: which side are our legislators on? Are they for the big gas companies, or are they for the citizens of Arkansas?" Dismang said.
Easy question. Gas producers haven't lost many votes at the Arkansas legislature, not since Witt Stephens came along a half-century ago. The recent gas severance tax increase was a rare harmonic convergence, a loss that the producers don't intend to see repeated. Noted: Dismang didn't help his clout in the House by being part of the tiny opposition to the broadly popular tobacco tax for health programs.