Shale watch: Where are the regulators? | Arkansas Blog

Shale watch: Where are the regulators?

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Good report from Channel 4 on a Van Buren County man, Dennis Brummett, concerned about leaks from a containment pond holding gas drilling waste. He says his complaints to state regulators initially drew no response. Of course not. The legislature's Shale Caucus believes serious regulation will kill the goose that laid the golden egg. What gets killed from leaking chemicals is not a Caucus concern, right, Sen. Rapert? So it would appear from opposition to most modest reform legislation last session.

Brummett finally got help when a local member of a gas exploration advisory committee, Jeff Pistole, roused state regulators. Channel 4 reported:


The pond lies on the far edge of the drilling pad. It's lined with a thick black pad and emits a strong petroleum odor. Two workers were at the pond Saturday, trying to reinforce a levee next to the pond that was full of the murky, black fluid.

Before the levee was built, Brummett and Pistole say the leaking fluid was flowing down into a stream that joined other creeks and tributaries before eventually flowing into Greer's Ferry Lake, the source of drinking water for more than 200,000 people in Arkansas.

It wasn't immediately clear if the fluid actually contaminated the water, but Pistole says someone needs to fix the pool.

"We don't what's in them, what's in the chemicals, and we certainly don't want that in our drinking water," Pistole said.

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