Rep. Morrissette: OCC’s awareness moment

Rep. Richard Morrissette (D-Oklahoma City) Photo: CapitalBeatOK.com

Rep. Richard Morrissette.  Photo: CapitalBeatOK.com

OKLAHOMA CITY — According to the reporting of the Journal Record, each week 143 oil and gas operators send in data on 590 wells, but those gathering the data do so without regard to each other’s information operating systems. Therefore it is impossible for the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) to coordinate, analyze and prioritize reported safety information in a timely manner; making it impossible to expedite appropriate remedies to mitigate danger to residents and the environment, in a timely manner.

In a release yesterday from his State office Rep. Richard Morrissette (Democrat) asks, “How long has this potentially cataclysmic inefficiency existed without corrective action by the OCC?”

OilRigWorkersThe Oklahoma Corporation Commission states that some operators submit daily volume information using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. But some fill out a form and fax the information to the OCC. Some even use the U.S. Postal Service to mail in information.

“Call out the National Guard or ask for donations of assistance from independent data management firms. Do whatever is necessary to address this problem!,” Morrissette advised. “The OCC acts as if it has just experienced an epiphany! Are you telling me that we’ve known this since the first wells became operational and have failed to act to address the emergency?” asked Morrissette, whose House District 92 was recently impacted by the 4+ earthquakes with epicenters in the Edmond, Okla., area.

“Sunday, I appeared on my weekly TV program ‘Your Vote Counts’ with Sen. Brian Crain, who commented about the earthquakes to claim that there are no operational wells in the Edmond area. I’m not surprised, Senator, that you would say something like that, as the Corporation Commission itself has steadily put out to the public misleading information to include its comments just after the Edmond quakes when they responded by saying they were puzzled because there were ‘no known operational wells near ground zero’. Now they are saying there are many wells within 10 miles or so of ground zero. And in my recent earthquake hearing at the Capitol, witnesses who had worked in the oilfield or lived near areas of intense seismicity relayed accounts of injection well operations happening miles away being responsible for local damage to their property.

OilRigDerrick“How can we stop oil and gas companies from being violators if we cannot monitor effectively the amount of produced water being injected by reviewing real-time data that is in some kind of workable format to address an emergency? I’m really stunned to hear that the Corporation Commission describes itself as drowning in disposal well data. Oklahoma is suffering from an ocean of injection water waste. Where is the Water Resources Board? Can’t they help with this data debacle? And why has the Department of Environmental Quality been so silent on this issue, considering the toxic hazards?

“Only incompetent bureaucrats could allow such dysfunction. Private industry would be bankrupt using this ‘management’ technique of reacting once the crisis has occurred. We should be begging someone from the private sector to intervene to donate data management services before the feds end up using the R-word to impose necessary regulations – the government’s protective remedy for taxpayers from other states who are sick to death of bailing out Oklahoma in a crisis.”