The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed legislation last week that prohibits cities and towns from regulating oil and natural gas drilling operations. The vote came one day after the Oklahoma Geological Survey said it is “very likely” that recent earthquakes in the state were triggered by the subsurface injection of wastewater from drilling operations. House members voted 64-32 for the bill by Republican House Speaker Jeff Hickman and sent it to the Senate. According to an Insurance Journal report, oil and gas drilling operations in the state are regulated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The bill prohibits communities from regulating oil and gas exploration, drilling, production and fracking, all of which fall under the purview of the Commission. The measure does permit local communities to adopt “reasonable ordinances, rules and regulations” concerning road use, traffic, noise and odors incidental to oil and gas operations, as well as the placement of drilling rigs and fencing requirements for oil and gas well site locations.
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