Task force to assess Corporation Commission

Governor Mary Fallin

Analysis: Governor Mary Fallin Monday issued an executive order establishing a task force to undertake an organizational analysis of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Claimed to build on last month’s changes made by the Commission to streamline operations and realign divisions, this analysis will look at what steps can be taken to improve the operations of the agency, but no citizen outside government is named nor is the OK Auditor and Inspector included.  

The Second Century Corporation Commission Task Force is directed to work with the commission, stakeholders and consumers, and provide an assessment by Nov. 15, 2018, of the mission, performance, staffing, funding and structure of the agency. It is to provide recommendations to the governor, the commission, the attorney general and the Legislature.

State Capitol Building in Oklahoma City

“The Corporation Commission provides invaluable services to protect Oklahomans and regulates a wide swath of our economy,” said Fallin. “I want to thank the corporation commissioners for their recently announced organizational changes to the agency. In recent years, we have relied on the expertise of the commission on many issues facing the state. The commission has adapted to many changes over the years, but it is timely to review its mission and to make sure corporation commissioners have the necessary tools and resources to fulfill it.”

The task force is made up of the attorney general, a corporation commissioner appointed by the commission, a senator appointed by the president pro tempore, and a state representative appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, and will be chaired by the governor’s secretary of energy and environment.

In more sarcastic summary; elitist government insiders will assess government for the good of government and the people should feel blessed to be so well managed and directed. We must appreciate that utilities regulated will not have veto power – apparently. However, why are utility elections exempted from ethics laws in Oklahoma?

The assessment is not designed to reexamine previous or future decisions of the commission. The assessment and recommendations will be released once the analysis is complete. 

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission was established in 1907 by Article 9 of the Oklahoma Constitution.

The commission regulates public utilities, except those under municipal or federal jurisdiction or exempt from regulation; oil and gas drilling, production and environmental protection; the safety aspects of motor carrier, rail and pipeline transportation and the environmental integrity of petroleum storage tank systems.

It also enforces federal regulations for underground injection of water and chemicals, underground disposal of certain oil and gas waste fluids and remediation of soil and groundwater pollution caused by leaking petroleum products storage tanks.

The Corporation Commission has judicial, legislative and administrative authority. Three commissioners elected by statewide vote rule on all regulatory matters within Corporation Commission jurisdiction. Commission orders are appealable only to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

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