COPY-Ark. agency agrees to share $3.5M from gas leases

Associated Press - December 17, 2008 2:04 PM ET

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has agreed in principle to share with environmental regulators $3.5 million from the lease of state lands to an Oklahoma City natural gas firm.

The commission voted earlier this year to accept the terms of the leases with Chesapeake Energy for drilling rights in the Gulf Mountain and Petit Jean River wildlife management areas in western Arkansas.

Commission director Scott Henderson says the panel hasn't yet formally signed an agreement with the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. The plan would allow some of the $30 million in land leases to be used for environmental inspectors.

Henderson says the agency is also looking at ways to share money with other state agencies such as the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism and Arkansas Department of Heritage.

The leases will allow the Chesapeake to have access to more than 7,500 acres in the Petit Jean River WMA in Yell County and nearly 4,000 acres in the Gulf Mountain WMA in Van Buren County.

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