Sunday, September 7, 2008

Mulberry River watershed threatened by companies wanting to drill for natural gas

Keep Arkansas Natural
Jesse Edmondson

Whitmar Exploration, out of Denver, CO, is proposing four natural
gas wells in the Ozark National Forest in Franklin County,
Arkansas. They are located along the Pig Trail, Hwy. 23, and
within the immediate drainage to the Mulberry River. Whitmar has received its drilling permits from AR Oil and Gas
Commission, although the area they have leased is expected
to have little probabability of being productive. If these
wells were promising, it is likely that Chesapeake and SEECO
would have already claimed stakes. The development of the
Fayetteville Shale play is fast-growing, as many companies
stand to benefit from Arkansas' resources. However, signing
over our most precious natural areas in Arkansas to high-risk,
low probability gas well drilling is a decision that the public
needs to address before it is too late. While some of these
companies have assured the state that they are eco-friendly,
there is still little known about environmental, recreational,
and social risk associated with hydro-fracturing the Fayetteville
Shale. Reserve pits for drilling waste are thought to be
designed to handle significant rain events. However, with the
state underhanded to inspect reserve pits and compliance
on a regular basis, who will be informed when toxic materials
spill into Mountain Creek, Fane Creek, and the Mulberry
River? How can we trust the reserve pits to handle surface
run-off like that associated with remnants of Hurricane Gustav?

Please consider writing the following voicing their concerns:

Points to consider:

Why is it necessary to allow high-risk drilling in Arkansas's
most precious public lands?

Is the financial benefit to the state going to outweigh the
tourism and recreation industry, environmental degradation, and
loss of historical significance to these natural sites?

Have all the possible environmental risks been assessed?

Will drilling be seen and heard from the Pig Trail or from
Mulberry River (drilling itself or permanent compression
stations if well is productive)?

The Indiana bat, an endangered species, resides within close distance to these sites.
How will these sites affect animal behaviors and migration?

These sites will be disrupting to public hunting. What are
the effects on deer, turkey, and other game in the Ozark
National Forest?

Have all surface and groundwater risks been assessed so as to
not threaten the Mulberry River?

From where will the millions of gallons of water required for
hydro-fracturing come? If trucked in, how will this affect the
fragile physical condition, traffic, and safety of the Pig

Where will reserve pit fluid be taken before reclamation? Will
and where will it be land-applied?

Public Comment period to the U.S. Forest Service ends on
September 12, 2008, this Friday. Please write to each District
Ranger to express your concerns regarding the Whitmar Exploration Company
ARES53687 #1-13H and 2-13H Gas Well Project:

U.S. Forest Service
Patricia A. Kowalewycz, District Ranger
Pleasant Hill Ranger District
2591 Hwy 21
Clarksville, AR 72830

U.S. Forest Service
Gary Williams, District Ranger
Boston Mountain Ranger District
1803 N. 18th Street
Ozark, AR 72949

Whitmar Exploration (Company Drilling in Franklin County)
555 17th St. Suite 880
Denver, CO 80202

Governor Beebe
State Capitol Room 250
Little Rock, AR 72201

Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission
Directors Office
301 Natural Resources Dr.
Ste 102
Little Rock, AR 72205

Arkansas Geologic Commission
Bekki White, Director and State Geologist
Vardelle Parham Geology Center
3815 West Roosevelt Road
Little Rock, AR 72204

Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality
Teresa Marks, Director
5301 Northshore Drive
North Little Rock, AR 72118-5317

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Some statements in this article are not well thought out. I am sure that someone very talented has decided that it is not a case where there is very little probability of being productive. What would be the point? Simply to wreak havoc on the environment for fun? Damn the costs – full speed ahead. Rest assured that if they go ahead with this, they have considered the cost versus rearwards and they do not consider it low probability.