The Norman Transcript


May 13, 2014

Council Oversight looking into topics that have caused controversies



On Nov. 13, the committee first began discussing oil well site security. There are currently 163 permitted wells within Norman city limits, according to city staff reports. Of those 125 are actively pumping, 18 are inactive, 16 are saltwater injection, four are saltwater supply and one is a saltwater disposal.

Currently, the city requires six-foot chain link fencing if the well is near residential development. City staff will report on what other cities are doing related to fencing, screening and security requirements.

Under discussion will be barbed wire at the top of the fence, landscaping to screen well sites and identifying the well operator who is the responsible party for maintaining the fencing.

The Council Oversight Committee also will look at drilling permits from surrounding cities and whether to tighten regulations to better protect the watershed. Additionally, information will be presented on gas flaring at wells.

The full Norman City Council meets 6:30 tonight and is expected to approve a $25 technology fee for municipal court, which will raise traffic fines in Norman.

While there is often lively discussion at Tuesday night council meetings, much of the study and discussion that goes into the council’s decision-making process occurs in committees such as the council oversight, finance committee and council study session and conferences, among others. Each of these has a posted agenda and is open to the public.

Public input may not be allowed at some committee meetings, since no formal decisions are made.

Joy Hampton



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