Petroleum Alliance applauds EPA approval of state agency regulatory primacy


The Environmental Protection Agency has approved Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s summer-time request to activate an Oklahoma-specific provision in the 2005 federal highway bill giving state agencies “primacy” on environmental regulations in Indian Country.

The governor made his request in July following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that established much of the state to still be considered under Indian reservations. This week’s EPA decision led to quick approval and response from Brook Simmons, President of the Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.

“On behalf of our members across every sector of the oil and natural gas industry, The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma greatly appreciates Administrator Wheeler and the work done by EPA Region 6 staff to provide regulatory certainty for tribal members and non-Indians alike,” said Simmons whose group represents nearly 1,300 member companies in the oil and gas industry.

“The Supreme Court ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma had the potential to upend business development in Oklahoma by creating a regulatory patchwork throughout the eastern half of the state,” explained Simmons.

“Gov. Stitt’s request and Administrator Wheeler’s approval means regulatory authority will remain at trusted and experienced state agencies. This provides regulatory certainty for all businesses, including Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry.”

In July when the governor made his request of the EPA, the Alliance applauded his quick response to the Supreme Court decision.

“Governor Stitt delivered for all Oklahomans regardless of whether they are tribal members or non-Indians,” he said at the time. “He acted to make sure trusted and experienced state agencies like the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; Oklahoma Corporation Commission; Oklahoma Water Resources Board; and Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry can continue to enforce regulations delegated to the state by EPA in Indian country.”

Simmons called the governor’s request “absolutely critical to provide regulatory certainty for businesses, farmers, ranchers, landowners and every state resident in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.”

The Petroleum Alliance is the only trade association in Oklahoma that represents every segment of the oil and natural gas industry.

Source: Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma