VIOLATIONS: Drilling mud sits in a pit at a drilling site. The liner for the pit sits in a pile off to the side.

  • from ADEQ report
  • VIOLATIONS: Drilling mud sits in a pit at a drilling site. The liner for the pit sits in a pile off to the side.

The Arkansas Public Policy Panel, a statewide progressive group, has released a report analyzing state inspection records of natural gas drilling and production sites that are compiled by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The report says that violations of the state’s environmental regulations are frequent, that companies operating in the Fayetteville Shale are not following their own best management practices and that ADEQ is doing little to make sure corrective actions are taken by the violators.

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APPP looked at 538 inspection forms filed by ADEQ between July 2006 and August 2010. Violations were found in more than half of those inspections, for a total of 544 individual violations (anything from overflowing waste pits to unauthorized discharge into waters of the state).

Bill Kopsky, executive director of APPP, says the report is timely. A joint legislative committee on agriculture, forestry and economic development will discuss a number of bills dealing with regulating the natural gas industry at a hearing on Sept. 13. The bills were deferred to interim study during the legislative session.

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Get more on the jump, including comments from Kopsky and ADEQ Executive Director Teresa Marks.