An interim committee looking at ways to encourage oil and gas exploration while protecting the environment held its first meeting at the State Capitol today. Senator Kevin Easley, D-Broken Arrow, requested the study and is hopeful it will help the state develop a more comprehensive energy plan.
“One of the biggest problems energy companies are facing as it relates to exploration is the skyrocketing costs of surface damage payments. The committee will investigate whether these payments are disproportionately high as compared to other states” said Easley, who was named chairman of the Surface Damage Advisory Committee.
The Wednesday morning meeting included presentations by Byran Hennigan of EOG Resources, Steve Slawson of Slawson Exploration and Joe Warren with Cimarron Exploration.
“We have been on an aggressive path through oil and gas incentives and other regulatory relief to encourage exploration in Oklahoma. Addressing this problem is just part of a comprehensive approach toward achieving that goal,” said Easley.
Other Senate appointees to the committee include Paul Barby, Patrick Cowan, Henry Hood, and David House. House appointees include Representative Dale Wells as co-chair of the committee, Rob Abernathy, former Governor Henry Bellmon, Dick Brewster and Mick McDonald. Governor Henry’s appointees are Bobby Kennemer, Don Smith, Terry Stowers and B.J. Reid.