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Oklahoma Legislature Looks at Waste Water, Well Stability

The Oklahoma state legislature is in full swing, and has pared down its docket of live bills and joint resolutions from more than 4,500 to around 1,400. PESA, in partnership with the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma, is monitoring the status of several bills.

  • HB 2776 (Rep. Lonnie Sims and Sen. Dave Rader) creates the Oklahoma Hazard Mitigation Assessment District Act, which would allow counties to create hazard mitigation assessment districts upon approval from voters. Counties would be required to seek voter approval at a countywide special or general election. This measure would allow for higher property taxes on the industry due to the creation of the districts without input on how that money would be spent.
  • SB 521 (Sen. Mark Allen and Rep. Jim Olsen) requires rules promulgated by the Corporation Commission to not be more stringent than any Environmental Protection Agency standards or regulations. This is a carryover bill from 2019.
  • SB 1439 (Rep. Tom Gann) increases the amount required to show the availability of sufficient financial resources to drill, operate and plug wells in the state. Any person or company engaged in exploration, development or production of oil or brine, or as an injection or disposal well, must demonstrate financial availability of $25,000 to $50,000. It increases the blanket amount for an operator of more than four wells from $100,000 to $200,000.
  • SB 1615 (Sen. Darcy Jech and Rep. Mike Sanders) creates the Task Force on Injection Well Stability, which would be comprised of a Corporation Commissioner, the Secretary of Energy and Environment, the Secretary of Agriculture and a representative from each of the following: the Department of Environmental Quality, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and up to two at-large members as the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) deems necessary. A representative from a relevant trade association will also be chosen by the OCC to serve.
  • SB 1875 (Sen. Dave Rader and Rep. Terry O’Donnell) creates the Oil and Gas Water Recycling and Reuse Act, which would establish that upon extraction of oil and gas, the water and ground waste are the property of the well owners. The operator (and non-operators) of the well would have the right to use, possess, handle, dispose of, transfer, sell, convey, transport, process, recycle, reuse, or treat the water or waste material. The operator also has the right to obtain financial compensation for any uses of the produced water or waste.

The legislative session runs until the end of May.

For more information on state government affairs, contact PESA Senior Director Government Affairs Kristin Hincke.

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