Judge’s suspension of state energy law draws draws more praise



The suspension of a state law intended to protect the state’s oil and gas industry from financial firms implementing climate change policies drew support from the Oklahoma Rural Association.

Reacting to the ruling by Oklahoma County District Judge Sheila Stinson, the Rural Association praised the decision that suspended the state Treasurer’s enforcement of the Oklahoma Energy Discrimination Elimination Act.

“Over the past 17 months, approximately $185 million in additional expenses have been incurred as a direct result of the EDEA’s enforcement, with visible effects at the local level,” claimed John Collison in a statement issued after the Tuesday decision.

It was the Rural Association that recently carried out a study on the economic impact of the 2022 law. The study by Dr. Travis Roach at the University of Central Oklahoma concluded the law was harmful for state retirees and others.

“As such, we found the law attempted to restrict local governments’ abilities to do business with certain banks and there was growing concern from rural Oklahoma about this legislation and its real-life implications,” said Collison.

“This is compounded by the issues with state retirement plans and those who have pensions.”

He went on to contend the law restricts the number of eligible financial institutions able to do business with government entities including municipalities and as a result drives up borrowing expenses for local projects. 

“It is the hope of the Oklahoma Rural Association that policy outcomes can be made that benefit the entire state of Oklahoma and such wide-sweeping pieces of legislation be carefully constructed and debated before implementation. It is disappointing that so many Oklahomans are dealing with the unintended consequences of a policy that affects their quality of life, paychecks, and pensions,” added Collison.

State Treasurer Todd Russ indicated he intends to appeal the decision of Judge Stinson who granted a temporary injunction in the civil lawsuit filed by state retiree Don Keenan. In her filing, the judge indicated that in all likelihood, Keenan would be successful in his lawsuit against the Treasurer.