Summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Senate Substitute Amendment to H.R. 748)

After countless hours of negotiation between Congressional leaders and the White House, a final deal on the third coronavirus-related bill was reached and approved by the Senate just before midnight on March 25, 2020. The Senate approved the measure with a vote of 96-0; and the House is expected to pass the bill on Friday. The nearly $2 trillion stimulus measure – the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act has relief for both the private and public sector, as well as individual Americans. Below is a summary of the CARES Act1, beginning with emergency appropriations for the various federal agencies.

Emergency Appropriations for Coronavirus Health Response and Agency Operations

The grant and loan funds contained within the CARES Act universally may be used “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”

To see an overview report of the entire bill, click here. OEPA will be reviewing the CARES act and will soon release information focused on small business provisions.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – 3/20/2020

At this time the Oklahoma State Capitol is shut down due to COVID-19 and is undergoing an extensive, deep cleaning at this time. House and Senate staff are working remotely from their homes. A timetable has not yet been established for when they will return to the Capitol. When activity resumes, our understanding is that […]

2020 Bills OEPA Supports & Opposes Update

SB1615 by Darcy Jech creates a task force to study and make recommendations regarding the purge in Kingfisher Co. As a result of OEPA efforts, the bill was amended to include “two representatives from different relevant trade associations operating in this state”. The bill passed the Senate with the title on and it is headed to […]

OCC 2nd Rulemaking Technical Conference

The first of 2 technical conferences on the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s proposed rule changes occurred Tuesday. Almost a dozen OEPA members were present! OEPA was well represented among the speakers addressing the Commissioners.

Corporation Commission Considering Rules to Require Public Notice from More Injection Well Operators

Richard Parrish with the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance said mostly spent horizontal wells being reinjected with fluid in order to recover more oil are the ones causing earthquakes and pollution, and the commission needs to distinguish them from other types.

“We don’t think we need to throw the baby of the legacy wells and the and the historic production and the disposal wells associated with them out with the bathwater, so to speak, by trying to address issues that have arisen,” Parrish said.

Read More.

The 2020 Bills We Support and Oppose

OEPA Supports HB 1379 by Representative Zack Taylor (R) Seminole and SB 1577 by Senator Greg McCourtney (R) Ada.

New OCC Proposed Rules Jan. 2020

Attached please find the latest proposed Corporation Commission (OCC) rules (Chapter 5 amendment, Chapter 10 amendment). Unfortunately, in part, the OCC is reacting to the Blaine County purge (breakout to the surface). Currently the volume of the purge is approximately 6 gallons per minute. The consensus is that the purge is the result of approximately […]

Legislation creating task force on drilling regulations advances

Daisy Creager | The Journal Record A bill creating a task force to evaluate the impacts of new drilling on existing wells, a topic that has horizontal and vertical drillers at odds, is moving to the Oklahoma Senate Appropriations Committee after winning unanimous approval from the Senate Energy Committee on Thursday. Read More.

Cantrell: Good policy benefits all

Number four of the Rotary Club’s Four-Way Test – whether something is beneficial to all concerned – comes to mind when observing the ongoing dispute between a segment of the state’s oil and gas industry and the state’s county commissioners and municipal governments.

The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance, made up of small oil and gas producers across Oklahoma, respectfully disagrees with the state’s big oil and gas producers over House Bill 2150, which would strip virtually all authority of local and city governments over the oil and gas industry.

In our view, that is a serious overreach. The most egregious hypocrisy of this bill is that it hides the true intent behind the “rights of mineral owners.”

If enacted, this bill will create a backlash over time, harming our relationship with our fellow citizens.

The state’s oil and gas industry has enjoyed unusual support from the state’s elected officials. That support should be honored as a covenant with Oklahoma to always measure our political initiatives with the best interest of the citizens of Oklahoma in mind. If that unwritten covenant is not honored, our industry will inevitably suffer in the long run.

The horizontal frackers and their trade association maintain they should be allowed to use the county rights of way to lay “temporary lines” to transport water from location to location regardless of the authority of the state’s county commissioners. A recent state Supreme Court decision reaffirms that the “Oklahoma Corporation Commission has exclusive jurisdiction over oil and gas operations” – an assertion with which we largely agree.

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Proposed change in conservation rules cause concern among vertical well operators

Some vertical well operators are concerned about a proposed revision of oil and gas conservation rules determining the responsibility for environmental cleanup in cases involving horizontal drilling.

Leaders of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance, which represents vertical producers, believe the revisions would unfairly favor horizontal drillers.

At the core of the issue is determining what party is responsible for environmental cleanup in cases when a horizontal well causes fracking fluid and sand to come up through an existing vertical wellbore.

“We need to come to a place where we have a good, reasonable solution so everyone’s interests can be met in a proper fashion,” said Dewey Bartlett, OEPA board chairman.

Devon Energy has proposed language to the corporation commission that would formally place the responsibility on wellbore operators, upon receipt of timely notice of hydraulic fracturing near its wellbore, to actions prior to and during fracturing operations to prevent an environmental impact.

Richard Parrish, an Oklahoma City-based attorney representing the OEPA, told members of the group during a meeting Friday that there have been several recent cases where horizontal hydraulic fracturing resulted in pollution through a producing wellbore and the corporation commission determined the vertical operator was responsible for cleanup.

“The horizontal operator is not being required to limit their frack or concern themselves or make sure the wells being fracked won’t cause purging,” Parrish said. “This is going to be a real problem around the state. We know of at least 47 incident reports of wells purging as a result of horizontal fracks.”

Members of the OEPA are trying to gather support in opposition of the pending revisions and are proposing an alternative revision stating that horizontal well operators giving notice of hydraulic fracturing operations should be required to take reasonable actions to prevent environmental impact.

“There is a need to find common ground for the benefit of Oklahoma,” Bartlett said. “Each one of us represents a company that has an owner and a lot of employees and their families. By us finding a common ground it means the breadwinners will be able to continue to support their family in a good way.”

Read More.