Natural gas industry and rural highways

My column for Stephens Media this week discusses yet another government deficit: the difference between the damage the natural gas industry is causing rural highways and the amount it is paying to fix those highways.

The Highway Department estimates the industry already has caused $455 million in damage but is paying only $30 million a year as part of the severance tax agreement that was supposed to repair those roads. You can read the column here.

Good news: The Oil and Gas Commission voted yesterday to require drillers to disclose the contents of their fracking fluid, which is the stuff they pump into the ground to make the natural gas come up. It’s mostly water, but it does include (until now unknown) chemicals. Arkansans have a right to know.

I’m not anti-drilling, but it needs to be done responsibly.

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