A bill returning the power of cities and counties to control when and where oil and natural gas wells can be drilled has been passed out of a legislative committee. Senate Bill 1257 by Senator Lonnie Paxton is on its way to the full Senate for a vote.
“It’s not my intent to do anything to hinder oil and gas,” Paxton recently told the Yukon Progress. “But when a well is placed that close to a home, municipalities need some options.”
He cited the recent case of the city of Mustang which sued a Tulsa energy firm for not following restrictions created by the city.
Paxton’s bill was passed out of the Senate Committee on General Government on a 6-3 vote with Senators Stephanie Bice, Kay Floyd, Chris Kidd, Anastasia Pittman, Wayne Shaw and David Holt in the ‘yes’ column.
Senators Larry Boggs, Julie Daniels and Nathan Dahm were opposed to the measure.
Paxton’s bill would allow cities and towns to create ordinances limiting air pollution and noise if a well drilling operation is within 1,000 feet of an occupied residence or commercial building.
His bill would restore power removed three years ago when the legislature followed actions of Texas where some cities had attempted to ban fracking near their limits. He also maintains some oil and gas companies actually support the bill.
“Ninety percent of the oil and gas companies are fair and are good neighbors, but in the eastern part of my Senate district, this one company has caused a lot of problems.”
He wouldn’t identify the company but said it created major problems with Bridge Creek and Mustang residents. Sen. Paxton said in Bridge Creek, the operation was across a county road from a neighborhood and only 30 feet from the subdivision.
“They put this thing right next to a subdivision and they’ve done nothing to mitigate the noise coming off that. This bill would give cities and towns some power that they’ve lost.”