Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Landowners and Oil & Gas Lobbyists Square Off Over Notification

Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas regulator has proposed a rule change that would require disposal well operators to notify more people of nearby development.

Some landowners like it, but lobbyists for Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry do not. The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

The agency proposed that saltwater disposal well owners must notify landowners within a half mile if the facility is approved to take in 42,000 gallons per day. Current rules require notice only within a quarter mile. For disposal wells that accept more than 42,000 gallons per day of waste, the agency proposed that they notify landowners within one mile of the facility, compared to the current rule, which requires a half-mile notice. Disposal well operators must also provide an affidavit showing who was notified, according to the proposed rules.

The Corporation Commission proposed similar rules at an informal meeting in December. The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association worried about the burden such notification would place on small operators. Representatives from a bigger player, Chesapeake Energy, didn’t mind increasing notification.

OIPA lobbyist Brian Woodard objected to the changes proposed Wednesday:

Disposing of oil-field wastewater in an injection well doesn’t occur on the surface, so it isn’t necessary to notify landowners who live near the well, he said.

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