Oklahoma

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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