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Group: State's hydraulic fracturing program 'well managed'

By Gavin Lesnick

This article was published March 9, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.

— A group that reviews hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells says the effort in Arkansas is well-managed but could be improved.

The State Review of Oil and Natural Gas Environmental Regulations, or STRONGER, said a seven-person team reviewed policies of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission between Nov. 2011 and Jan. 2012.

"The review team has concluded that the Arkansas hydraulic fracturing program is well managed and professional and generally meets STRONGER's hydraulic fracturing guidelines," said Lori Wrotenbery, chairman of the team and director of the Oil and Gas Conservative Division of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The review team applauded the state's hydraulic fracturing rules, its water well complaint protocol and its web presence. It recommended the state require notification prior to hydraulic fracturing so field inspectors can monitor the operations and increased funding for inspectors.

Arkansas has about 15,000 active wells with 700 to 900 new ones drilled each year in the Fayetteville Shale.

The Oklahoma City-based STRONGER calls itself a "non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization whose purpose is to assist states in documenting the environmental regulations associated with the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas."

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