Feds, State Reach Understanding on Arkansas Gas Lease Money

LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Arkansas Game and Fish Commission officials say the federal government has agreed in concept that money from the lease of state lands to a natural gas firm can be shared with other agencies toward environmental protections.

Game and Fish Deputy Director Loren Hitchcock says the agency is working on agreements with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission to share money from leases with Chesapeake Energy Corp. Game and Fish signed a lease for nearly $30 million.

Hitchcock says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to the idea of using the gas lease money for environmental protections. He says the commission is no longer concerned that sharing the money with other agencies will jeopardize federal funding for wildlife projects.

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