Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Norman Residents Hear About Possibilities Of Banning Fracking At Public Forum

Terry Stowers waits to respond during an exchange with David Slottje at the fracking forum at Norman Public Library Aug. 11.

Joy Hampton / The Norman Transcript

Terry Stowers waits to respond during an exchange with David Slottje at the fracking forum at Norman Public Library Aug. 11.

The Lowry Room at the Norman Public Library filled to capacity Monday night, and a mass of people packed into the hallways to listen to a forum on hydraulic fracturing that included an OU scientist, assistant city attorney, and a lawyer from upstate New York who’s helped communities there ban fracking.

StateImpact’s Logan Layden moderated the event as each panelist made a presentation, and read questions from the audience.

Dr. Robert Puls was up first, and went over some of the basics of fracking. Puls is director of the Oklahoma Water Survey and an associate professor at OU’s College of Atmosphereic and Geographic Sciences. His presentation focuses on how the fracking process works.

Next, Leah Messner, assistant city attorney for Norman, made her presentation, which mainly was a review of the city’s code as it relates to oil and gas drilling operations.

Her presentation came in anticipation of the following one, that of David Slottje, the New York attorney from the Community Environmental Defense Council, which provides legal help to cities and towns seeking to ban fracking.

That’s when the forum got heated, with Slottje engaging with an audience member over whether Oklahoma law allows cities to ban fracking, and the role of property rights.

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  • Johnny Mansfield

    Those pesky local municipalities! Don’t they know it is not their place to put the interests of their citizens ahead of a corporation’s God-given right to plunder the earth in the name of increased shareholder value? It’s time for Governor Mary Fallin and her cohort of thugs at the state capitol to don their brownshirts and jackboots and grind their heels into the necks of these uppity locals by passing state laws to prohibit any local laws, seminars, meetings, or any other actions that might come between a fracker and his or her profits. I will bet Mary’s corporate pals over at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have already written “model legislation” that would protect these poor corporations from being picked on by local governments representing their citizens. You would think the local yokels would have learned their place after Mary and the state, with the help of ALEC, crushed their attempts to raise the minimum wage at the local level!

    • Frederick Fracingberg

      You would think a big ole liberal like you wouldn’t mind taking a little dirty/blood money from oil and gas production for the poor little public school system in Norman. It doesn’t seem to bother the head the Democrat party when it comes to Wall Street, why such a fuss now? Matt Damon got you all hard brah?

  • David Kauber

    From New York State, here — This support, from the audience, for what David Slottje has to say, sounds much like what he (and his wife, Helen Slottje) get when they speak to us citizens in our libraries. This corporate take-over of our lives demands the best of us — the best, of the best of us.

    And, this struggle against the corporate bull dozing of our consciousness will be a struggle we will be fighting for the rest of our lives.

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