The Oklahoma Legislature’s attack this affair to absolute bounded governments’ adjustment of oil and gas conduct has addled a assumption with some assembly and the municipalities they represent.
The applied aftereffect of the proposed legislation — and the burghal ordinances it targets — is unclear, however. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulates oil and gas wells in the state, does not clue them by whether they’re amid aural burghal limits, nor does it apperceive which towns ban drilling.
“I can apprehend arguments for both sides, but my catechism is, why change things back what we acquire has formed for years and years?” said McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison, whose boondocks is one of a scattering in the accompaniment with a abiding prohibition adjoin oil and gas conduct in the burghal limits.
Spooked by Denton, Texas’ accommodation to outlaw hydraulic fracturing and alike added abashed back Stillwater threatened agnate action afterwards a able-bodied was accomplished aural 300 anxiety of a residential neighborhood, Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry apprenticed the Legislature to intervene.
The aftereffect to this point is Senate Bill 809, by President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, attached bounded governments to “reasonable” restrictions on spacing, dust, noise, odor and alley use but prohibiting arrest with adeptness owners’ adeptness to accumulation from mineral rights.
Another measure, SB 468, by Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, defines such ordinances as abnormal “takings” for which adeptness owners could affirmation damages.
Both bills are apprehension final action by the Senate, which can acquire them in their accepted forms, accredit them to appointment committee, or adios them outright.
The bills acquire encountered some opposition, decidedly in ablaze of the earthquakes consistently agitation axial and arctic axial Oklahoma, but for the best allotment a Legislature that complains about circadian about the bamboozle of the federal government seems to acquire little attrition about cardinal bounded government on this and a few added issues.
Harrison, for one, finds that a little galling.
“I anticipate if you were to analysis accessible opinion, a majority would say they shouldn’t be demography abroad the bounded control,” he said. “The cities shouldn’t go crazy, either, but the affliction affair to do is booty abroad bounded control, and again we acquire a above earthquake.”
In arresting HB 809 on the House floor, Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, said the cold is to leave the adjustment of oil and gas to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
James Roller of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association said abundant the aforementioned thing.
“This has played out that cities can’t do anything” beneath SB 809, Roller said, “but if you apprehend it, the bill provides a lot of description for them.”
Roller said the OIPA is added anxious with towns and cities extending their banned to accumulate rigs at arm’s length.
“That’s absolutely the affair we’re accepting into,” he said.
In practice, almost few Oklahoma municipalities acquire had contempo oil and gas conduct aural their burghal limits. Several years ago, Tulsa adapted its century-long conduct ban to acquiesce it beneath assertive conditions, but to date no one has apparent added than brief interest.
A few towns, including Marlow and Elk City, acquire apparent activity, but by far the burghal with the best is Oklahoma City. At 621 aboveboard miles, it is one of the better cities in breadth in the world; it additionally sits on a behemothic oil and gas acreage that’s been in assembly back 1928. According to the burghal of Oklahoma City, about 70 wells, including auctioning and bang wells, acquire been accomplished back the end of 2009.
In the aboriginal days, Oklahoma City’s attempts to adapt conduct sometimes had to be activated by the National Guard.
And the Wild Mary Sudik, which blew out in southeastern Oklahoma County in March 1930, spewed added than 200,000 barrels of oil for 11 canicule afore it could be capped and coated surfaces for 10 or added afar in every direction.
Those asperous and accessible canicule are continued gone, but oil and gas conduct still poses assurance and ecology hazards. Oklahoma Burghal Community and Government Affairs Manager Jane Abraham said it is cryptic how SB 809 adeptness affect the city’s attempts to ascendancy those, but that some changes are likely.
“Passage of the bill will crave us to alter … our authorization to accommodate to the new statutes,” Abraham said in an email. “It will booty time to absolutely assay the appulse to all added sections ambidextrous with acreage use. As it currently stands, the bill allows cities to absorb the adeptness to adapt traffic, noise, odors, setbacks, angry and items accompanying to floodplain management. However, the bill would absolute our adeptness to ascendancy zoning and the adjustment of oil and gas conduct operations aural burghal limits.”
Many municipalities assume afraid to counterbalance in on the issue. Oil and gas are important to the accompaniment and to bounded economies. Alike McAlester, which bans conduct central the burghal limits, receives adeptness checks for wells on acreage it owns alfresco the city.
And Abraham prefaced her animadversion with “First and foremost, we acquire consistently had a absolute alive accord with the oil and gas industry in Oklahoma Burghal and statewide. We accept how important they are to the state’s abridgement and are admiring to acquire the befalling to assignment with them.”
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