"I need to get it down. I understand I’ve made a mistake." That is a quote from the opening statement of attorney Chuck Banks speaking on behalf of his client, Dan Eoff, at a hearing held by the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) in Clinton on July 17. I agree with Dan. He made a mistake and his dam needs to come down.
The indisputable facts are that Dan Eoff illegally built a dam without any of the required permits and he built it in a floodway where local, state and federal laws prohibit any construction. At the hearing, there was substantial testimony that the dam was poorly constructed and unstable and that an accidental breach of the dam could cause serious damage to the City of Clinton’s water system. The ANRC issued an order for Mr. Eoff to remove the dam.
As a result of a Legislative Audit that declared a dinner the night before the hearing to be a meeting, the Commission has vacated its order. As a Commissioner, I recused during the hearing but I agree with the findings and the order to remove the dam. I disagree that the dinner was a meeting but understand why the Commission is vacating the order to remove any question of unfairness.
The fact remains that Mr. Eoff illegally built a poorly constructed, unstable dam that, in my opinion, threatens the Clinton water system. The Environmental Protection Agency has an order for him to remove the dam and short of its removal that order will go forward.
Mr. Banks’ last words on behalf of Mr. Eoff at the hearing were, "I think everybody on this team understands, it’s gotta go down." At the hearing, Mr. Eoff’s attorneys’ main concerns seemed to be the cost to remove the dam. Mr. Eoff showed no concern for the costs to the Clinton water system by the fact that no sediment control was used during the construction of the dam. The sediment loads from the dam construction and those from two 250-foot earthen berms Mr. Eoff constructed and allowed to wash away have been major blows to the Clinton water system.
Rep. Josh Miller has been quick to come the defense of Dan based upon the notion that the dinner was a meeting. Where is Rep. Miller’s concern for the thousands of constituents of his who are customers of the Clinton water system who now face major construction costs to add a clarifier? Clinton has commitments from the federal government for $2 million and $3 million from the state to build a new clarifier to handle sediment. Those are substantial resources to be at risk from an
illegally built, poorly constructed and unstable dam upstream.
Now that the State of Arkansas is out of the picture, I ask Rep. Miller to join me in asking Dan Eoff, a man I have known for most of 40 years, to show us he is the man of his word we know him to be and remove the illegal dam. I think he owes this to the communities of Clinton and Van Buren County who have supported his business activities for years.
Here it is Jesus’ birthday. He gave his life for all of us.
But for those who voted not to give the city of Clinton Fire Department a $100 bonus for Christmas was wrong. Because you keep it for yourselves. It is time to give and rejoice to all. Not just yourself. The excuse was because you would have to keep it up if you start it.
Well, maybe the firemen family need it worse or as bad as some of you do. You think of the lives they save, buildings too. They drop everything to help all. They did it all year, not just Christmas.
My last point is, I just hope your house don’t catch fire. But if it did, who would be there? Clinton Fire Department. Everyone thinks you owe them something. We all do.
Great job firemen whom volunteer, no pay!