Gov. Mary Fallin on Aug. 16 appointed Col. Michael Teague as secretary of energy and environment.
Fallin’s choice for the cabinet position — which was created by combining the vacant offices of secretaries of energy and environment — was immediately criticized by the president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, the state’s largest industry trade organization.
The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports:
“The selection process and decision are confusing and questionable. It’s unprecedented for Oklahoma’s energy secretary to have no working knowledge in the oil and natural gas sector,” Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association President Mike Terry said in a statement.
“We are at a unique era in Oklahoma’s history as an energy-producing state. Crude oil production is on the rise after decades of decline. The true potential of our natural gas resources is still waiting to be harnessed. It is difficult to see how a secretary of energy with no working knowledge of the oil and natural gas industry can effectively drive discussions and policy decisions on legislation and regulation that impact the state’s most vibrant industry.”
The Governor’s Office defended Teague, the former Tulsa District commander of the Army Corps of Engineers, the paper reports:
“He’s absolutely familiar with the idea of using natural resources actively to our advantage, but doing so in a way that protects the environment and is environmentally sustainable,” [said spokesman Alex] Weintz.