Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Monday filed comments with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) opposing new federal rules on the regulation of oil and gas production in Osage County.
Oil and gas production in Osage County is regulated by the federal government and not the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. In 2011, the Osage Nation and federal government agreed to a $380 million settlement over allegations the federal government mismanaged tribal mineral rights. Additionally, both sides agreed to review and revise existing regulations of the tribe’s holdings. The federal government published the rules in the Federal Register and has been accepting public comments. The comment period ended Monday.
“The State of Oklahoma, not the federal government, is best equipped to design, administer and enforce laws and regulations related to oil and gas development,” General Pruitt said. “State regulatory programs have been carefully designed to address state-specific issues and are applied consistently, regularly reviewed, and continuously subjected to thoughtful administrative oversight unlike the federal program that is notorious for frequent and prolonged delays. The BIA should start over with the rulemaking process in order to address these issues.”
Pruitt wrote that states have greater flexibility to modify or update rules in response to new information and that state regulators have the experienced and expert staff to oversee operations in a timely manner on state and federal lands within Oklahoma.
The Attorney General pointed out that the new federal rules would wrongly displace the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s authority to regulate water usage and rights.
The Attorney General also wrote that the proposed federal regulations contradict existing state laws, add unnecessary burdens to oil and gas producers and don’t extend sufficient protections to landowners.