Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Environmental Matters Focus of Special Task Force

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Environmental Matters Focus of Special Task Force

Article excerpt

Journal Record Staff Reporter Environmental matters will be the focus of the special task force scrutiniz- ing the Oklahoma Corporation Commis- sion, it was determined at its first organizational meeting Thursday. "We're looking at the forest, not each tree," said William C. Liedtke III, chairman of the 15-member advisory group. Liedtke was named to replace the original chairman, Charles Nesbitt, who was appointed secretary of energy by Gov. David Walters. Already, the task force, which was formed in March, has received written comments concerning a wide range of issues such as oil and gas pollution, administrative proceedings and court procedures. The corporation commission regulates oil and gas production and transmission, trucking and railway trans- portation, public utilities and telephones and cotton gins. It was determined at the organiza- tional meeting that environmental issues will be the predominant subject for the task force. The group plans to meet bimonthly on Mondays at 10 a.m. at the commission, located at 2101 Lincoln Blvd. in the Jim Thorpe Building. The corporation commission was the subject of a comprehensive interim study looking at pollution matters in the last session of the Oklahoma Legislature and a topic of several recent requests for interim studies pending at the State Capitol. There was also talk during former Gov. Henry Bellmon's term of separating environmental regulatory& powers from the commission and form- ing a special state agency to address those issues in a comprehensive manner, a topic that has not died. Hence, commission Chairman Bob Hopkins, who is retiring in August, spearheaded forming a special task force to study reform of the agency. As a starting point, the group decided to invite select commission employees to give an overview of their division duties related to environmental matters. Many likely will be asked to return to elaborate on questions from task force members and to speak on administrative matters, Liedtke said. …
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