Round one goes to retired state worker who sued Treasurer over Energy Discrimination Elimination Act


An Oklahoma County Judge has ruled against dismissing a lawsuit against Oklahoma State Treasurer Todd Russ over his enforcement of the state’s controversial Energy Discrimination Elimination Act of 2022.

District Judge Sheila Stinson denied the Treasurer’s request to dismiss the lawsuit filed last fall (CV-2023-3021) by Don Keenan, a former President of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

“Defendant’s motion to dismiss is denied,” wrote the Judge in her Feb. 27, 2024 ruling.

She rejected the Treasurer’s arguments that the suit by the retired state worker should be dismissed because he did not have legal standing and was not harmed by enforcement of the act created to prevent financial discrimination against Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry.

Keenan filed the suit on behalf of the OPEA after the Treasurer enforced the act and banned several firms from handling state pensions and retirement systems. But Treasurer Russ maintained Keenan was not harmed by enforcement of the act and still receied a “fixed payment each month, and the payments do not fluctuate with the value of the plan or because of the plan fudicuaries’ good or bad investment decisions.”

In his suit, Keenan contended the Treasurer was in essence “using pension funds for political warfare.” He also claimed the law was unconstitutional because it violates the state’s prohibition of special laws.

Earlier this week, the Act was also targeted by the Oklahoma Rural Association which cited a study by a University of Central Oklahoma professor who claimed the Act was harming the state economically. As OK Energy Today reported, the ORA noted that cities and towns across the state had $185 million in additional expenses because of the Act.

“It is clear that the EDEA has caused an unnecessary increase in municipal borrowing rates, increasing costs, harming taxpayers, and resulting in municipalities paying more for less or canceling projects altogether. These unintended consequences are causing significant harm to Oklahoma communities and our economy,” said study author Dr. Travis Roach.