ADEQ considers uniform rules for drilling in Fayetteville Shaleadmin
The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is working to establish guidelines for drilling companies along the Fayetteville Shale.
Companies must now obtain permits from the state’s Oil and Gas Commission to drill for natural gas in the formation, which stretches across much of northern Arkansas. They also must get letters of authorization from the state to build pits to hold leftover water from the drilling.
One change proposed by the department would require companies to get five-year general permits to build those pits, Director Teresa Marks said. The proposal also would ban pits in wetlands and require companies to dispose of the water in proper locations.
The department moved to tighten restrictions on drilling companies after a visit earlier this month, where department officials saw oil and trash in reserve pits, Marks said.
“It’s a new type of industry for Arkansas. … We wanted to make sure we get the best permit,” Marks said.
John Thaeler, senior vice president of SEECO, the Arkansas subsidiary of Southwestern Energy, said his company was still reviewing the proposed changes.
“We’re looking forward to sharing our thoughts. We know it’s very important to keep an open dialogue,” he said.