Gov.Fallin Signs Legislation Reaffirming Corporation Commission as Regulator of Oil, Gas Industry

OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin on Friday signed a bill reaffirming the Corporation Commission as the sole regulator of Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry.  The bill aims to preserve a unified regulatory framework for the industry and prevent a confusing patchwork of inconsistent municipal regulations across the state.

Fallin said today that Oklahoma has led the nation in developing rigorous standards for oil and gas production.   A patchwork of regulations that vary across the state would be inconsistent with the goal of reasonable, easily understood regulations and could damage the state’s economy and environment, she said.

Senate Bill 809 reaffirms that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is the primary entity charged with establishing a unified regulatory framework for the energy industry, emphasizing environmentally responsible policies. SB 809 prohibits municipalities from issuing moratoriums or bans on drilling while preserving their ability to adopt reasonable ordinances, rules and regulations concerning traffic issues, noise, fencing requirements and placing of drilling rigs.

“The Corporation Commission is aggressively but  fairly regulating Oklahoma’s energy industry,” said Fallin. “The Commission has nationally recognized experts along with direct access to multiple agencies and multi-state organizations that municipalities would not have. For example, the Commission is using scientific analysis from the Oklahoma Geological Survey and providing additional oversight on hundreds of underground injection wells linked to increased seismic activity. As more information and science become available, the Commission will use it to responsibly regulate or even put a stop to some drilling activity that could cause earthquakes or damage to the environment.

“Corporation Commissioners are elected by the people of Oklahoma to regulate the oil and gas industry. They are best equipped to make decisions about drilling and its affect on seismic activity, the environment and other sensitive issues. We need to let these experts do their jobs. The alternative is to pursue a patchwork of regulations that, in some cases, could arbitrarily ban energy exploration and damage the state’s largest industry, largest employers and largest taxpayers,” said Fallin.

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