You’ve perhaps noticed by now that Gov. Mike Beebe has made it clear he believes Game and Fish should share some of its gas riches with other state agencies — most particularly the environmental stewards already woefully understaffed, even if they were inclined, to vigorously protect natural resources from the inevitable damage caused by massive exploration. Unless he gets some gas money for state agencies, other revenues will have to be supplied. He’ll win at least a limited victory for the simple reason mentioned here yesterday and repeated by Beebe — though Game and Fish has constitutional independence, it can’t spend a dime not appropriated by the legislature, no matter how much cash it piles up.
I do think Beebe was being overly generous in this quote about G&FC, however:
“I think the Game and Fish Commission is very sensitive to the fact that their resources don’t really belong to them but belong to all the people of Arkansas,” Beebe said, adding that he expected the commission to work with his office and the Legislature.
If they really thought that, the proceeds of leasing public land would benefit all public efforts equally. It’s a classic example of Beebe’s historic ability to find bridges between opposite viewpoints, however. I wish he could inject a little of that into Game and Fish’s obsession with the game and fish portion of its charge. Even Texas has bowed to devoting significant attention to the broader interests of wildlife preservation and enjoyment in its regulatory agency. Not Arkansas.