In the 2008 General Election there was a question posed to the voters as to whether or not voters were For or Against a Bond issuance of a clean water act. Well, who would not be for funding an Act to assure clean water? 65 percent of the voters voted For this bond issuance. The actual 21 page Act was not posted prior to the vote so none of the voters realized that buried within the pages of this Act is language to allow the government to "Acquire absolute title to and use for any purpose and at any place, water stored in any reservoir or other impoundment." The word "any" should make it clear this means the water (lakes, ponds, streams) on any individual's privately owned property. When this was brought to their attention, two concerned citizens decided to research what could be done to protect property rights. They discovered that, although this Act (Arkansas Bill 2339-Act 631) had been passed, each county, according to the Arkansas Constitution, has the right to participate in how this act is applied. They have gone to the Sharp County Judge and the Quorum Court Justices asking that they recognize this as an opportunity to protect the property rights of the citizens they serve by passing an Ordinance that would help limit the vast powers given to the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission. This issuance has been on the Sharp County Quorum Court agenda and has been discussed for the past two meetings. At the last Quorum Court meeting held on May 10th the JPs voted, six to three, to further investigate and consider whether or not an Ordinance should be drawn up and voted on. It is important for Sharp County voters to know that three JPs (Allen, Hastings and Martin) voted to ignore the concerns of their constituents and take no action.
This is a critical issue and more people need to be aware of the serious ramifications of such an Act that threatens every property owner's rights. The next Quorum Court meeting will be held on June 10. These meetings are open to the public. Anyone who has any water on or near their property should be concerned enough to follow this closely. Let your concerns be known to those County official who have the authority to protect your property rights.