Stillwater Officials Consider Limit On Oil Drilling Operations

Tuesday, February 3rd 2015, 10:52 pm
By: News 9

Stillwater residents packed the city council chamber Tuesday night. City planners said they want to make it harder for oil and gas companies to drill inside city limits.

It's been nearly 40 years since Stillwater updated its oil and gas drilling regulations, officials said. Fracking has been a hot topic, locally. The Planning Commission said it is considering a set of proposals that would be some of the toughest in the state.

Angela Spotts said she is part of a group called ‘Stop Fracking Payne County.' She said her home sits 900 feet from a drilling operation just outside Stillwater in Payne County. 

2/3/2015 Related Story: Anti-Fracking Signs Vandalized In Payne County

Spotts said there are lights, noise and truck dust near her home 24/7. "I have more bad air days than I have ever had in my whole life ... pumpers in my backyard."

The Stillwater Planning Commission said it is considering a proposal that would increase the mandatory setback between drilling operations and living dwellings from 400 feet to 1,000 feet.

OSU Meteorologist J.D. Carlson said his home sits 2,600 feet from a drilling operation and he said the noise still keeps him up at night.

"My recommendation would be at least a half a mile. You may laugh at me for that, not too much," Carlson said.

The 1,000-foot setback was one of a handful of regulations Stillwater's City Attorney proposed Tuesday night. Another one was to increase the amount of insurance oil and gas companies have to take out per job; from $100,000 to $5 million.

Attorney A.J. Ferate said he represents 2,800 members of Oklahoma's Independent Petroleum Association.

"I think a 500-foot distance is reasonable, yes,” said Ferate.

Stillwater's Planning Commission said it will revisit this topic next Tuesday. The City Council could vote on these new regulations on Monday, Feb. 16.