Six Bills Sponsored by Rep. Webb Will Result In Exorbitant Gas Price Increases And In More Government Workers To Oversee These Bills (see links to these bills below)
To be heard in Arkansas House Agriculture Committee this Wednesday, the 23rd (See KAIT TV story below_)
Representative Kathy Webb, the most liberal legislator in the AR House, is sponsoring or co-sponsoring six bills that will add so many expenses to gas wells and so many government employees that it will result in exponential increases in the price of gas. Not long ago Governor Beebe called our natural gas find in Arkansas an "economic windfall" that could expand our state's economy. Why now would Kathy Webb add so much expense to these gas producers in "global warming" regulations that it would stifle this "economic windfall? These gas producers are already meeting the strict federal government EPA regulations and rules. (Suggestions on actions to take will follow in next email)
After discovering and reading the bills and then talking to members of the natural gas production community, the following list of negative consequences would result if these bills passed.
The cost of implementing these bills would be exorbitant. The taxpayers would be paying for the state to micro-manage the gas industry. The bills would require more government employees to do more reporting, monitoring stations, bureaucracy, and needless paper work.
Gas producers are already meeting the strict federal and state EPA regulations and rules. These bills would duplicate a lot of things being done already, even rules that have been recently passed. If you just read the bills, you might think that we may need SOME of these regulations for the welfare of the citizens and would think these precautions were not already in place, but they are already being done.
Implementing these bills will require additional personnel and tremendous cost on the natural gas production community and Arkansas taxpayers. The consumer will have to pay for the additional government workers through taxes and then pay for higher gas prices.
These bill would create a very unfriendly business climate for gas producers that could lead to gas companies moving to other states where there isn't strangulation by regulation. The University of Arkansas Center for Business & Economic Research reported that just the Fayetteville shale would result in $17.9 billion economic impact with 11,000 new jobs and 1.8 billion in state taxes, not including the severance tax. Why would we want to strangle this economic windfall?
There are other areas of the state that can be an economic boom in shale oil for our state if our legislature doesn't pass laws to strangle investments in those areas. Arkansas already ranks 39th in the nation in business climate. All the states around us rank higher - Texas and Missouri MUCH higher (Texas, 13th & Missouri 16th ) http://taxfoundation.org/publications/show/2181.html Forbes ranks Arkansas 14th in the nation in business costs of energy, taxes, and labor. http://www.forbes.com/2010/10/13/best-states-for-business-business-beltway-best-states-table.html
At a minimum, these bills, would cripple the productive exploration and development of natural gas in Arkansas which directly impacts our state's economy, jobs, a multitude of tax revenues and education. There is great competition from other newly discovered and emerging natural gas fields, and Arkansas will only lose out if we develop an anti-business environment by passing these bills. Our state and nation has much to gain from continued development of Arkansas' clean and abundant natural gas.
Once more the Democrats in Little Rock are pushing through Obama's policies, just as Governor Beebe is on the health care bill and Medicaid. Obama is shown on You Tube saying the following:
"You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal, uh, you know -- Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad. Because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it -- whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers...So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted. 1
This is exactly what Representative Webb's six bills will do - make it so expensive as to either bankrupt the gas producers or increase the cost to consumers exponentially at a time citizens literally CANNOT afford it. To give a little perspective on Webb, she was given the most liberal rating by a liberal organization, Arkansas Citizens First Congress in the 2009 session and was named as Co-Chair of the Governor's Global Warming Commission.2. This Commission has recommended 54 specific policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Just 29 of the recommendations would coast Arkansas $3.7 BILLION. 3 To put that figure in perspective Arkansas's state budget in 2010 was $4.4 billion. Representative Webb headed up these global warming legislation in the last legislative session, bills that are in alignment with Al Gore's policies and Obama's Cap & Trade Bill that passed the US House in 2009 but was so controversial that it did not get through the Senate. To view these different bills in 2009 see this footnote. 4 Webb has filed around 55 bills just this session and had more passed last legislative session than anyone I could find.
Following is a list of these six bills sponsored or co-sponsored by Representative Kathy Webb: Remember gas producers in Arkansas are already meeting federal EPA guidelines. These in Arkansas are unnecessary and will only cost the taxpayers more by adding government workers to the state's payroll.
HB1395 - AN ACT TO PROTECT AIR QUALITY IN THE VICINITY OF NATURAL GAS DRILLING FIELDS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1395.pdf
Excerpts from the bill: "The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission shall initiate rulemaking on the effective date of this act to: (1) Require that an oil and gas developer take all economically feasible measures to reduce or eliminate air emissions during gas drilling, production, transportation, and waste disposal; and
(2)(A)(i) Require an oil and gas developer to monitor and report air quality for air pollutants regulated under either the Clean Air Act, 42 28 U.S.C. § 7401 et seq., or Arkansas law if:
(B) The department may lower by regulation the amount of air pollutants that trigger the air permit requirement; [So no definite regulation is given on air pollution - just anything the bureaucracy wants to require. There are numerous rules in the bill -so many that any well could be closed for even a complaint by someone. There are so many environmentalist out there that would be glad to shut down a well and have no problem in registering a complaint.]
HB1392 - AN ACT TO CREATE A PROGRAM FOR ANNUAL INSPECTION OF GAS WELLS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES sponsored by Webb and Leding http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1392.pdf [The title says annual inspection but note all the other inspections the bill requires. How much will it cost to do all these inspections? The consumer will pay either way - through taxes or increased price of the gas.]
(a)(1) To ensure compliance with the rules of the Oil and Gas Commission, the commission shall inspect each:
(A) New well site at least once while the drill pad construction is under way;
(B) Well at least once when casing is set and cemented;
(C) Well at least once while hydraulic fracturing treatment is occurring; and
(D) Well annually during gas production or when idle.
(2) The Oil and Gas Commission may conduct inspections as often as necessary at any point during the lifetime of the well.
(3) The Oil and Gas Commission shall inspect a well site within forty-eight (48) hours of receiving a complaint.
(b)(1) To ensure compliance with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality rules, the Water Division of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality shall inspect each:
(A) New well site at least once while the drill pad construction is under way; and
(B) Road and pipeline construction corridor providing access to a new well site.
(2) The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality may conduct inspections as often as necessary at any point during the lifetime of the well.
(3) The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality shall inspect a well site within forty-eight (48) hours of receiving a complaint.
c) The Oil and Gas Commission and the Arkansas Department of 26 Department of Environmental Quality shall: 27
(1) Determine the staffing and technical capacity needed to perform the inspection program described in subsection (a) of this section; and [an you visualize the number of new government employees that will be required for all of this?]
HB1396 - AN ACT TO REQUIRE FULL DISCLOSURE REGARDING NATURAL 8 GAS DRILLING CHEMICALS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES sponsored by Kathy Webb. http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1396.pdf Sponsored by Webb
HB1399 - AN ACT TO CREATE THE RURAL GOOD NEIGHBOR ACT; AND FOR 8 OTHER PURPOSES - Deals mostly with noise levels, and again the standard is not set but left up to the bureaucrats to set: Quote from bill "A lower threshold [noise level] as determined to be necessary to protect the health and rights of Arkansans." [I didn't notice any regulations anywhere on windmills or other alternative energy sources.] http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1399.pdf Sponsored by Reps Pierce and Webb
HB1393 - AN ACT TO PROTECT ARKANSANS BY REQUIRING BONDS FOR 8 GAS DRILLING OPERATIONS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1393.pdf sponsored by Representative Webb
(b) The Oil and Gas Commission shall require financial assurance for 7 natural gas wells as follows: 8
(1) For one (1) to twenty-five (25) wells, a ten thousand dollar 9 ($10,000) bond per well; and 10
(2) For twenty-six (26) or more wells, a two hundred fifty 11 thousand dollar ($250,000) bond. 12
HB1394 - AN ACT TO PROTECT ARKANSAS' WATER IN AREAS AFFECTED BY GAS DRILLING OPERATIONS; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2011/2011R/Bills/HB1394.pdf sponsored by Homer Lenderman and Web. Excerpts:
(2) The Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission alternatively may develop best management practices that are no less stringent in minimizing undesirable impacts to the environment, including without limitation pollution.
(e)(1) The Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission shall initiate rulemaking on the effective date of this act to update casing requirements to incorporate the American Society for Testing and Materials International cementing and casing standards, as in effect on January 1, 2011, and the American Petroleum Institute cementing and casing standards, as in effect on 20 January 1, 2011, and require intermediate casing in areas where wells pass through fresh water.
(C) Require that well operators always use at least two (2) layers of casing, install centralizers, and pressure test all casing consistent with the best regulatory and industry practice.
http://www.kait8.com/Global/story.asp?S=14287652 - Excerpts from KAIT8 TV story
BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) – The Arkansas House Agriculture Committee will discuss a package of bills Wednesday, which aim to protect Arkansas' landowners, water and air from the hazards of natural gas drilling. Homer Lenderman, D, of Brookland told Region 8 News Sunday he sponsored one bill. Lenderman said HB1394 will protect Arkansas' water supply in areas affected by gas drilling operations if legislation is passed. He said he's optimistic the bill will fly through the committee Wednesday.
According to the bill, Arkansas lakes, rivers and streams will be protected from pollution from gas development. It states the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission will be given the power to hold gas companies responsible under the Arkansas Water and Air Protection Act. It also states companies will be required to practice good management of construction, maintenance and closure rules for waste pits. It also will give the departments the ability to force companies to improve well casings to prevent from water contamination.
Lenderman said he has run into opposition.
"Anytime you look at regulating and industry, there's cost involved. When you start looking at putting in a synthetic and a clay liner, you're increasing cost of operation. When you're looking at requiring double casings, when you're requiring testing of wells prior to and after drilling, you run into cost. The industry obviously wants to maintain their industry as profitable as possible," said Lenderman. "The industry does not want to be a bad neighbor. The industry does not want to harm the environment."
Other bills include HB1392, an act to create a program for annual inspection of gas wells.
HB1393. An act to protect Arkansans by requiring bonds for gas drilling operations.
HB1395. An act to protect air quality in the vicinity of natural gas drilling fields.
HB1396. An act to require full disclosure regarding natural gas drilling chemicals.
HB1399. The Rural Good Neighbor Act.
End of excerpt
2. http://citizensfirst.org/resources/2009%20Vote%20Guide.pdf Arkansas Citizens First Congress Ten Priorities For a Better Arkansas, p. 46
Member criticizes global warming commission
Posted March 22, 2011