A research fellow and writer for the influential environmental DeSmog blog got a rude welcoming in Oklahoma City this month.
The research fellow, Steve Horn, was in Oklahoma City Oct. 1 to do interviews with staff members of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), which claims it “assists member states efficiently maximize oil and natural gas resources through sound regulatory practices while protecting our nation’s health, safety and the environment.”
He wanted to ask about the Congressionally approved organization’s stance on climate change and global warming, but what he got was hassle from the Oklahoma City Police Department after someone reported him as suspicious when he appeared at the IOGCC headquarters at 900 N.E. 23rd Street.
Horn was let go after questioning, but it’s not difficult to believe the overall incident was meant to help IOGCC avoid tough questions about climate change.
Read Horn’s piece here. As he points out, the organization’s “existence has flown under the radar for 80 years . . . “ The organization’s stated dual mission seems to conflict. It wants to “maximize” oil and gas production at the same time it wants to “protect” the environment. That’s impossible, at least now. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as environmentalists have long argued, has led to water contamination and earthquakes and also has created a glut of fossil fuels that when burned contribute remarkably to global warming and the demise of the planet.
The organization represents member states, which can be found on its site.
Horn did receive some written responses to his questions. Here’s what the IOGCC thinks about climate change: “. . . the IOGCC does not have a position on climate change” and “ . . . is not part of conversations on climate change.” Again, read Horn’s piece here, which shows once again the vaunted “Oklahoma hospitality” has always been and will always be the great myth. Many Okies are NOT the nicest people. They are mean-spirited, self-righteous and ideologically myopic.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma right now, the main issue is the dramatic surge in earthquakes caused by the fracking process.
A 4.5-magnitude quake struck near Cushing over the weekend, along with a 4.4-magnitude in Medford. Oklahoma is on track to experience more than 900 earthquakes 3.0-magnitude or above this year. Just a few years ago, the state experienced two or three minor earthquakes a year.
In the fracking process, water laced with toxic chemicals is injected underground by high pressure to create fissures in rock formations to release fossil fuels. The wastewater is then injected by high pressure into underground disposal wells. Scientists have overwhelmingly concluded that it’s the disposal well process that’s inducing all the earthquakes here.
State leaders have been slow to respond. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has placed some restrictions on injection wells, but it now faces a challenge by a disposal well operator that claims the commission acted inappropriately when it requested the company reduce its volume amounts.
So it’s the same old story here.
State leaders are protecting the interests of the oil and gas industry over the safety and welfare of ordinary citizens here. An organization dominated by oil and gas industry officials but also tasked with protecting the environment, well, it doesn’t even have a position on climate change caused by carbon emissions, which is wreaking havoc on the planet.
And that good ol’ down home Oklahoma hospitality, as always, means out-of-staters can expect a police shakedown when they come to town with their pesky questions. It’s the Oklahoma Standard.