Phillips Murrah Director Robert N. Sheets participated in a broadcast interview with StateImpact Oklahoma / KGOU reporter Joe Wertz regarding using local referendums to ban hydraulic fracturing.
This interview was broadcast in early November, 2014 and can be seen in its entirety at the StateImpact Oklahoma website.
To listen, click on the player below:
In Oklahoma, local officials have the authority to regulate and restrict oil and gas activity within city limits, an ordinance that enforced a fracking ban would likely draw an immediate legal challenge, says Robert Sheets, a land-use and natural resources attorney at the Phillips Murrah law firm in Oklahoma City.
“That’s what the cities are going to have to look at: Are they taking a property right from an individual by saying, ‘You cannot drill, you cannot frack on this property.’”
The energy industry has deep roots in Oklahoma, and many of the property laws themselves were written with oil and gas interests in mind. Sheets says the justification for an outright ban would have to be steep and defendable in court, especially if royalty owners argue that fracking is necessary to produce their oil and gas property.
“You’re probably going to end up with that rational basis test,” Sheets says. “Is there a rational basis for what they’re doing?”