While local governments across Oklahoma have the power to enact reasonable regulations regarding oil and natural gas development, some have taken their authority too far, enacting policies that amount to an outright ban. These unlawful, overly burdensome and restrictive regulations, harm private mineral owners and prohibit them from realizing the full potential of their minerals.
That’s why an important piece of legislation, HB 2150, to address this private property rights issue is moving through the House and should be passed and sent to Governor Stitt’s desk for his signature. HB 2150 protects private property rights, preserves reasonable local regulations, and encourages responsible job-creating, revenue generating oil and natural gas development in the state.
Here are three fast facts:
- PROTECTS PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS: Private mineral owners have the constitutional right to realize the full value of their resources. Overly broad local regulations – which extend far beyond the legally permissible scope – block access and deprive local mineral owners of their rights. This legislation protects those private property rights by ensuring local regulations and ordinances stay within their legal reach. And it protects mineral owners and producers from economic harm, should a local government entity attempt to restrict access or production.
- PRESERVES REASONABLE LOCAL REGULATIONS: HB 2150 does not change a single thing about current state law or encroach on local government’s ability to set regulations. Local municipalities have the clear authority to regulate, so long as those regulations are reasonable and do not ban oil and gas activity or fall outside of their legally define reach. As Oklahoma’s supreme court has affirmed, the Corporation Commission, with its decades of experience, knowledgeable staff, and resources, retains the authority to regulate oil and natural gas development.
- ENCOURAGES JOB-CREATING, REVENUE GENERATING OIL & NATURAL GAS DEVELOPMENT: Granting the state the power to regulate oil and gas activities, creates investment certainty with a uniform set of strong, science-based regulations. This certainty invites continued investment and production – which leads to more jobs and revenue generate for state and local budgets.
Last year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court reaffirmed the “Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas operations.” The Court’s order stood with Oklahoma’s long history of effective state regulation. Vesting the regulatory power with the states eliminates the possibility of a confusing patchwork of regulations, that vary from municipality to municipality. It also saves the localities from spending taxpayer dollars to hire experts to regulate highly technical and capital-intensive operation.
Current law gives Oklahoma municipalities, counties, and other political subdivisions the clear authority to regulation road use, traffic, noise, odors, reasonable setbacks and fencing requirements. And that authority is only restricted in situations where the regulations are unreasonable or scenarios where oil and gas activity is eliminated in the locality.
This bill doesn’t change local regulatory powers under existing state law. But it does protect the constitutional rights of mineral owners, provide certainty for operators that will continue to make job-creating investments, and saves taxpayer dollars by allowing the most qualified entity – the state – to oversee and regulate Oklahoma’s largest industry.
We strongly encourage the House and Senate to move this important legislation to Gov. Stitt’s desk.