Oil producers don't think they should be regulated by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, and the big knee-slapper of the whole thing is that the Arkansas Supreme Court doesn't think so either.
Today the supreme court allowed a lawsuit filed by Oil Producers of Arkansas to proceed. The group says the Oil and Gas Commission, an agency that collects a significant part of their revenue from permit fees, should have sole regulatory power. Give me a break! Oil and Gas has no incentive to strictly regulate oil and gas exploration in this state. This would be another case of the foxes watching the hen house. We love that here in Arkansas. Arkansas Business has more.
UPDATE: Aaron Sadler, Communications Director at ADEQ, sends along a response from ADEQ Director Teresa Marks:
"We are disappointed with the court’s ruling. However, we are confident that we have acted within the scope of our authority as the state’s environmental regulatory agency and we look forward to having this matter fully vetted in circuit court. We think the enactment of the general permit to regulate the construction, operation and maintenance of reserve pits was an important step in preventing negative environmental impacts that could result from failure or improper maintenance. We want those protections to remain in place for the benefit of all Arkansans."
Granted, ADEQ hasn't done the best job on keeping polluters in line, as every single land farm in the state was found to have violated environmental regulations. But, they're making strides, I think. And they're surely better than the alternative.