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Norman Residents Want Input To Oil And Gas Drilling Regulations

Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.
Logan Layden
/
StateImpact Oklahoma
Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.

About 60 demonstrators gathered in front of the Norman City Hall Wednesday evening before the city council’s oversight committee met to discuss changes to the Norman’s oil and gas drilling regulations.

The Central Oklahoma Clean Water Coalition hosted the rally. Organizer Casey Holcolm says the current ordinances were written before fracking became so widespread.

Holcomb said, "Norman’s regulations are actually way far behind many other communities in the nation, and even — behind even some communities in Oklahoma. Our regulations are not as strong as Oklahoma City’s and we need to go ahead and bring things up to speed, especially with the unconventional boom which has really changed the game."

The oversight committee’s proposal to the full city council in early 2015 will include a ban on drilling in watershed areas that drain into Lake Thunderbird, Norman’s main water source and more stringent water quality testing for wells near drilling sites.

Some demonstrators said they felt excluded from the rule-making process, accusing the committee of working too closely with oil and gas companies since beginning its work in the spring.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

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As a community-supported news organization, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department.

Logan Layden is a native of McAlester, Oklahoma. He's a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a Master's in Journalism and spent three years as a student employee, covering the state capitol and local host of All Things Considered for KGOU. Logan was hired as a reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma from its creation in 2011 through 2017.
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