Game & Fish Names Committee to Deal with Drilling on Commission Property

JANUARY 20, 2006 - Posted at 4:27 p.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The former chairman of Arkla Gas Company will chair a committee of the state Game and Fish Commission that will study the prospects of oil and gas leases on the state's wildlife management areas.  Creation of the committee at a commission meeting yesterday was prompted by a recent upsurge of interest by gas exploration companies in drilling in the Fayetteville Shale region, which extends across much of northern Arkansas.

Several wildlife management areas are in the Fayetteville Shale region, and inquiries are possible about drilling on those properties.

Game and Fish commissioner Sheffield Nelson, former chairman of Arkla, now a division of Texas-based CenterPoint Energy, said the committee he chairs will be very careful in its dealings.

Nelson said any windfall profits for the commission from gas drilling would be reinvested to enhance hunting and fishing for all Arkansans.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)