Retiree wants Judge’s suspension of Oklahoma energy Act to be permanent


The Judge who suspended Oklahoma’s enforcement of its Energy Discrimination Elimination Act, the measure enacted two years ago to protect the oil and gas industry from discriminating financial firms, is now being asked to offer a victory to the state retiree who filed suit and challenged its constitutionality.

The attorney for state retiree Don Keenan, who filed suit in November of 2023, filed a motion Tuesday asking for a partial summary judgment and to make the suspension a permanent one.

“This motion presents a pure question of law and asks the Court to affirm its prior ruling and determine the Act unconstitutional and issue a permanent injunction preventing enforcement of the same,” wrote attorney Collin Walke, the former state legislator who represented Keenan.

The request for a permanent injunction follows the ruling by District Judge Sheila Stinson earlier in May to grant a temporary restraining order that put enforcement of the Act by Treasurer Todd Russ on hold.  Her ruling came after the lawsuit (case: CV-2023-3021) contended the Act was vague and unconstitutional.

In his filing Tuesday, Walke argued the Act “provides a myriad of methods that Defendant “may” consider in determining whether a company “boycotts” oil and gas companies, but not a single mandatory requirement exists within the entire section of law.” In other words, he said whether a company “boycotts” oil and gas is completely discretionary to Defendant.” (Treasurer)

“—there is no “sufficiently definite warning” of what conduct is or not prohibited,” declared Walke’s motion.

The motion further charged that if the treasurer is able to put companies on a “blacklist” of firms that boycott oil and gas, then it begs the question, What does boycott mean?

“Well, under the Act, it means whatever Defendant says it means. That is not law. That is tyranny. Therefore, the Act should be declared unconstitutionally vague,” stated the motion.

Walke also pointed out that even the state Treasurer previously admitted that many of the banks on the blacklist literally own oil and gas companies. The attorney called it “doublespeak” and said he has already proven by clear and convincing evidence that the Act is unconstitutionally vague. Yet, he said Treasurer Todd Russ added another company to his “blacklist” immediately prior to the judge’s granting of a temporary injunction.

“If the pendency of a ruling by this Court on the constitutionally of the Act was not enough to deter Defendant from trying to enforce the Act, then it is clear that absent a permanent injunction, Defendant will continue to run rough shod over the taxpayers of the State of Oklahoma by enforcing a patently and palpably unconstitutional law,” stated Walke in his motion.

The former legislator’s filing of the request for a partial summary judgment came shortly after Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond filed efforts seeking a bond to be posted by Keenan.

In recent weeks, the Act has been criticized by the Oklahoma Rural Association which produced a financial study that claimed enforcement by the Treasurer was costing the state millions of dollars. The motion filed Tuesday also charged that if divestment of funds were to be carried out by the Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System, it would cost the pension system $10 million.

Below is the link to the OSCN file regarding the case: