Lawsuit challenging constitutionality of Oklahoma energy discrimination Act still in the system



The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, a suit filed with the support of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, is apparently a long road away from going to trial—-if it ever does.

OK Energy Today reported earlier in the month how State Treasurer Todd Russ asked an Oklahoma County District Court Judge to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Don Keenan, who called the Act unconstitutional and tried to hold Ross personally responsible. The suit (CV-2023-3021) was filed in November of last year.

The most recent filing was Keenan’s response to Russ’s motion, arguing he had every standing to file the suit.

“This is clearly a test case for the legislature, and this court should not permit the legislature to run rough shod over clearly established constitutional law, argued Keenan’s lawyer, Collin R. Walke, in saying the suit should not be dismissed. He also argued that Keenan does have a legal standing as a taxpayer to challenge the Act.

“Mr. Keenan is both a vested beneficiary of the OPERS system and a resident taxpayer in the state of Oklahoma. Further, Mr. Keenan has clearly and plainly alleged that the costs attributable to enforcement of the unconstitutional Act will cost the state, political subdivisions and pension systems tens of millions of dollars.”

Keenan’s lawsuit was filed after Treasurer Russ implemented the Act and released a list of investment firms banned from doing business with state pension programs because the investment firms used ESG policies to discriminate against the state’s oil and gas industry.

Attorney Walke also maintained that Keenan does not want to see the OPERS system depleted and that the implementation of the Act will hurt OPERS by $10 million.

District Judge Sheila Stinson has yet to announce a decision on the State Treasurer’s request to dismiss the suit.

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