George Bartmess and James Hardy are listed on the original 2007 mining application as principles in B&H Resources, LLC. An LLC is a “limited liability company” that protects the owners’ individually for liability for damages caused by the company. Hardy is now a principal in the newly created Evergreen Resources LLC, a corporation pursuing the same purposes as the original B&H Resources, LLC.
The new frac sand mine quarry and plant, planned by Evergreen, is called Twin Mountain. It is located at the headwaters of Bailey and Perogue Creek that feed Mill and Piney Creeks before flowing into the White River.
In addition to mining, Evergreen’s original plan was to process sand via a system that would draw approximately 400,000 gallons of water a day from the Ozark Aquifer that is already challenged in other areas according to studies of the U.S. Geological Survey. Recent results of a 3 year survey conclude the aquifer could go dry in the Joplin area if demand increases by as little as one percent a year over the next 50 years. With a four percent annual increase in pumping rates, water would not be sustainable from the aquifer near Joplin and Miami, Oklahoma. The study also notes that groundwater levels have dropped as much as 400 to 500 feet in some parts of the aquifer since 1960. See the study here.
As of December, 2010, Evergreen has apparently revised their plan to draw the process water from a spring on their property. Details about this plan are not currently available but several areas of concern about the impact of this plan need to be addressed. How will withdrawing large quantities of water from a spring that feeds Pearogue Creek then Mill Creek then Piney Creek and finally the White River affect the quantity of water in the creeks and thus the health of these creeks? Cold water from springs and creeks is critical to the trout population in the White River – will removing this source of cold spring water harm our trout fishery and the industries that it supports?
There is no permit or regulation regarding withdrawal of water from a spring for use on your own property, except the potential conflict with the reasonable use of others who use the resource. Permits are required to pump water to others. Unfortunately, this approach has resulted in the near exhaustion of large aquifers in eastern Arkansas. Without some plan, this creates what is called the “tragedy of the commons.” If water is “free” but a shared resource, then it creates a “first come, first served” mentality encouraging people to pump more and more, faster and faster. This is exactly what happened in the West where water is scarce and will happen here if no action is taken.