Legislative Pulse: Fighting for Oklahoma’s Environmental Laws, Against Federal Overreach

Published November 15, 2016

Editor’s Note: Two-term Oklahoma state Rep. Mark McBride (R-Moore) is vice-chair of the Energy & Natural Resources Committee and serves on the Appropriations and Budget Public Safety Committee; the Business, Labor, and Retirement Laws Committee; and the Utilities Committee.

 Burnett: Oklahoma is one of 27 states challenging the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan in court. Do you support Oklahoma’s suit?

McBride: I fully support Attorney General Pruitt’s decision to file suit against the U.S. Environmental Protect Agency for their overreach as it relates to their rules regarding the so-called “Clean Power Plan.” It is well known American energy independence is vital to economic growth and national security. Any regulation on the production of power, be it natural gas, coal, solar, wind, or other sources, should be common sense and backed by science that balances the need for energy and the protection of the public health and safety.

Burnett: In 2015, you offered a bill to prevent municipalities from banning fracking. A similar bill ultimately became law. Why did you feel this bill was needed?

McBride: In 2015, I cosponsored Senate Bill 809 with Speaker of the House Jeff Hickman and Senate President Pro-Tempore Brian Bingman, which claimed state preemption over municipalities as it relates to oil and natural gas exploration and production. I believe having a uniform set of standards for businesses to operate under is important for keeping Oklahoma competitive by reducing the administrative burden on these businesses in researching and complying with a patchwork of regulations.

While I believe regulation of this industry is important, it should be done by qualified experts on a statewide basis, as opposed to municipalities. Any regulation should be done by either the state legislature or the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Burnett: Oklahoma is one of 15 states that sued to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s new methane rules for oil and gas operations. Do you support Oklahoma’s suit?

McBride: I support and agree with Attorney General Pruitt’s suit. Once again, the EPA has promulgated rules in excess of the authority granted to the agency by the U.S. Congress. I wholeheartedly support sensible regulations to protect the public health and safety of not only Oklahomans but all Americans. However, such regulations should be debated, authorized, and monitored by the people’s elected representatives in Congress and the White House and not be unilateral decisions made in a bureaucratic vacuum.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is a research fellow with The Heartland Institute.