Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Oklahoma Energy Industry Rallies Against Tax Increase Proposal

Dean Champion, an oil-field worker who does flowback work and well testing for Select Energy, mans a smoker at a March 2018 rally at the Oklahoma Capitol organized to push lawmakers to vote down proposed tax increases on oil and gas production.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Dean Champion, an oil-field worker who does flowback work and well testing for Select Energy, mans a smoker at a March 2018 rally at the Oklahoma Capitol organized to push lawmakers to vote down proposed tax increases on oil and gas production.

The Oklahoma Senate is now considering a package of bills to increase tax revenue to give raises to teachers and public employees. Among the targeted increases are taxes on oil and gas. On Tuesday, the energy industry showed up to the capitol to rally against the proposal.

Outside the capitol, oil-field workers arrived early in the morning to set up and stoke enormous trailer-pulled grills and smokers to feed the public and legislators, and remind them of the oil industry’s status as a top job-maker.

Inside the capitol, oil workers visited lawmakers to tell them the same — and to urge them not to support legislation that would increase taxes on oil and gas production.

“It’s time to speak out and let them know there’s a risk that wells won’t get drilled if we don’t maintain some of these tax credits and initiatives,” said Michael Evans, an engineer and project manager with Marathon Oil.

The House passed the revenue package late Monday night. It’s unclear how much support it has in the Senate — or if it’s enough to get teachers and public workers to call off their April 2 walkout over low pay.


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