By: Mike Hunter Guest Columnist
Having experience working in the oil and gas industry, first as a roustabout and later as an attorney at a private firm, I have firsthand knowledge of how important the industry is to our economy and households across the state. My time as attorney general has only heightened that appreciation.
The total employment impact from the industry represents one out of every six Oklahoma jobs.
The Fraser Institute, a Canadian policy think tank, recently named Oklahoma the second most attractive place for investment in petroleum exploration and development in the world.
For continued success, it is vital the industry have an advocate in the public sector to push back on burdensome overreach and unnecessary regulations. Our office is unapologetic in serving in this capacity when necessary to protect the states interests.
To give some recent examples:
• When the new administration sought input about what regulations needed to be reformed, we filed a comprehensive list of all rules the Environmental Protection Agency needed to re-examine. Many of these rules were putting a damper on our energy sector, including regulations that stymied oil and gas production.
• We have been pushing back against private special interest groups that have been urging courts to expand federal environmental regulatory control of groundwater.
• We have supported reform efforts by the new administration by filing numerous official comment letters, including supporting delay of costly methane regulations while they are reconsidered and urging repeal of the Obama administration’s unlawful attempt to restructure the energy economy, the Clean Power Plan.
• And we are currently fighting against a group of left-wing states and cities that have tried to sue energy companies over climate change, claiming they should pay billions for the hypothetical future costs of global warming. We have asked the courts to throw these harassing lawsuits out.
These are just a few of the ways we are working to ensure the rule of law upon which the long-term success of the oil and gas industry is dependent.
As long as I am attorney general, our office will remain dedicated to pushing back against unnecessary regulation by outsiders and special interests who seek to damage our top economic driver.