The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association on Tuesday sued the Kingfisher County Commissioners, escalating a monthslong fight over how water is transported throughout the county.
Oil and natural gas producers until earlier this year used temporary pipes in ditches along county roads to transport produced and treated water to new oil and natural gas wells for use in hydraulic fracturing operations.
Kingfisher County Commissioners in May banned the practice, approving only fresh water though the pipes. Oil and natural gas industry representatives say the change could add millions of dollars in costs, significantly increase truck traffic and increase the use of fresh water when companies previously relied on recycled oil-field water.
The legal challenge focuses on jurisdiction. The oil and gas association filed the lawsuit at the Oklahoma Supreme Court, claiming the county actions violate state law that gives the Oklahoma Corporation Commission exclusive jurisdiction over oil and natural gas operations.
“We’re asking the Supreme Court to declare the Kingfisher County permit invalid and instruct them that it is beyond their jurisdiction,” Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association, said in an interview Tuesday.
“We also want some guidance letting them and other counties know those are issues that are exclusively Corporation Commission jurisdiction. We feel that’s pretty clear, but guidance would be helpful in working with other counties.”
Kingfisher county officials did not respond to phone calls and emails from The Oklahoman on Tuesday.