Attention Kingfisher County
Kingfisher County commissioners recently banned temporary water lines in county rights-of-way.
These water lines are critical components of oil and natural gas companies’ innovative recycling techniques. The lines help energy companies protect the environment and use less freshwater.
The ban on temporary water lines makes it difficult for oil and natural gas companies to recycle water. Companies may need to use more freshwater from local ponds, rivers and lakes instead.
Since recycled water can’t be transported through the water lines, the ban could put nearly 40,000 more heavy trucks on the roads. This influx in traffic would jeopardize public safety in Kingfisher County.
Why did Kingfisher County commissioners ban temporary water lines?
The commissioners worry that if a county employee damages a water line – while mowing a ditch, for instance – an energy company could sue to recoup the costs of the cleanup and remediation. This has never happened in Oklahoma. However, energy companies are willing to talk with commissioners about ways to clarify these situations.
Why is opposing the ban important to Kingfisher County residents?
If oil and natural gas companies cannot use temporary lines to transport recycled water, they may have to use more freshwater from local ponds and lakes. It could put 40,000 more water trucks on county roads.
Plus, if Kingfisher County commissioners force the oil and natural gas industry to file a lawsuit, it will be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.
Why does it matter if there are more trucks on county roads?
Energy companies are committed to the highest levels of safety. The more vehicles on the roads, the greater risk of accidents. Even when everyone drives safely, 40,000 more trucks means additional congestion and noise.
Do Kingfisher County commissioners have the right to regulate this activity?
District Attorney Mike Fields has issued an opinion saying commissioners do not have the authority to ban temporary water lines. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has also said commissioners overstepped their authority. If Kingfisher County commissioners force the industry to file a lawsuit over this issue, it will be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars.
The Oklahoman’s editorial board says the ban is “likely to end in little besides financial loss and inconvenience to local taxpayers.” Read more.
Who should regulate these temporary water lines?
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is the proper authority to regulate temporary water lines. Even if water lines run on county rights-of-way, it is the state’s job to regulate the oil and natural gas industry. This system has worked for years in all other areas of oil and gas activity. Kingfisher County Commissioners are adding unnecessary red tape.
Why is opposing the ban important to oil and natural gas companies?
Oil and natural gas companies are committed to reducing freshwater use, which means using more recycled water. It is much more cost-efficient and safer to transport treated water through temporary lines. If companies cannot use temporary lines, they might have to drill less, which would mean fewer jobs and less economic activity.
What has the energy industry done to avoid a legal fight over this issue?
Energy companies have worked hard to find a resolution to this issue without going to court. Industry representatives attended multiple county commission meetings to explain their concerns about the ban and offer alternatives. Other Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association efforts included:
Asking for a short delay in implementation of the ban so commissioners and industry experts could clarify permit text
Coordinating a response from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission clarifying the state should regulate temporary water lines
Developing industry-leading best management practices for temporary water lines
Creating a task force to work with commissioners including the state energy secretary, Oklahoma Corporation Commission staff, the director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and others
Despite these efforts – and every local and state expert presenting alternatives – commissioners refused to stop the ban. Unfortunately, they left the energy industry with no other recourse but to consider filing a lawsuit, which will likely result in a waste of taxpayer dollars.
What can I do to help?
Call the Kingfisher County commissioners. Tell them you want jobs and economic development in Kingfisher County. Tell them you want to promote water recycling and keep 40,000 more heavy trucks off county roads. Tell them to Stop the Ban!