But as oil and gas fracking continue to spread throughout the state, Oklahomans’ concern might be more about the industry’s impact on water supplies and less about the industry’s profits.
A report, commissioned by the Clean Water Fund and released Thursday, found there are several oil and gas wastewater wells that could be injecting into drinking water supplies in Oklahoma. In addition, there are private wells whose supply could be overlapping with wastewater disposal wells permitted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).
“It’s disturbing that the OCC may have permitted oil and gas wells to inject directly into potential drinking water sources, and that the agency can’t accurately point to where the drinking water is located,” John Noël, lead author of the report and national oil and gas campaigns coordinator for Clean Water Action, said in a statement. “That’s fundamental to the OCC’s job — it is the agency that is supposed to protect Oklahomans’ drinking water from the impacts of oil and gas activities. Without proper information, the OCC cannot assure that the state’s many thousands of injection wells have all been permitted safely.”