Citing proper funding, regulatory reform and economic development among her top priorities, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy will begin serving as chair of the Commission effective Jan. 3. She follows Commissioner Bob Anthony as chairman.
Among the many challenges Commissioner Murphy anticipates the Commission will face in 2011 include ongoing budget shortfalls and federal environmental mandates imposed on Oklahoma dealing with regional haze, emission standards, and hydraulic fracturing,
"Two of my priorities will be working with the legislature, industry and my fellow Commissioners to create a plan to tackle the long-term funding shortfall of our Commission oil and gas division and to bring our state regulatory scheme into the modern technology age with electronic filing of all applications and forms by entities regulated by the Commission," Murphy said.
"It makes no sense that the only agency charged with regulating the oil and gas industry—the industry which generates some of the most significant revenue for our state—fails to be provided with funding to hire a sufficient number of field inspectors and technical personnel to oversee regulation. Moreover, electronic filing, which already exists in many of our surrounding states, is critical to bringing new business to the state and providing increased efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness to the public," she said.
Other challenges faced by the Corporation Commission include the EPA’s consideration of moves that would place expensive and unnecessary regulation on key sectors of Oklahoma’s economy. Murphy said the EPA is considering regional haze measures that would be devastating to Oklahoma’s utilities and their customers. Moreover, the EPA is continuing to consider whether to regulate hydraulic fracturing, a process used by the oil and gas industry, and one already closely regulated by the Commission.
Murphy said the development of Oklahoma’s wind power industry is also a key concern, particularly the expansion of transmission lines across Oklahoma as approved by the Southwest Power Pool.
Murphy began serving as a Commissioner in January 2009, following election to a two-year term, completing the unexpired term of former Commissioner Denise Bode. On July 27, Murphy was elected to a full six-year term on the Commission in a primary election, as she faced no opponent on the general election ballot.
Murphy will be sworn in for her full six-year term as Commissioner in a ceremony at the Jim Thorpe Office Building at 3 p.m., Jan. 10, following the gubernatorial inauguration.
Murphy is a fifth-generation Oklahoman, geologist, attorney and previously served as an administrative law judge at the Commission. Among the areas regulated by the Commission are oil and gas drilling and development, public utility rates and services, petroleum storage tanks, motor carriers and pipeline safety.