by Max Brantley
Thanks to Sen. Jason Rapert for a report I hadn't seen before — the independent review by Stronger Inc. of Arkansas's oversight of exploration for gas in the state by hydraulic fracturing.
Rapert, a dedicated proponent of fracking, calls the report "good news." And the report produced by a team that included environmentalists, indeed cites Arkansas for some positives. We were one of the first states to push for more disclosure of the chemicals used in the fracking process. The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission has revised rules to cover the expanding industry. The report praises the state's protocol on checking complaints about potential water well problems. The AOGC has a good website.
But .... the report notes prominently the need for more money to hire more staff at both the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Oil and Gas Commission. For example: it is AOGC policy to attempt to inspect every active well in Arkansas once a year, plus biweekly inspections of each well in active drilling. There are currently 15,000 active wells, with 700 to 900 added every year. The commission has 13 field inspectors. To meet the goal, each would have to inspect more than 1,200 wells a year, or 100 every month or three inspections every day of the year. The review team recommended an increase in field inspectors.
Other recommendations include required notice before fracking begins.
Check out the report at the link.