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Lawmaker proposing waste water tax to cut down on earthquakes

OKLAHOMA - One Oklahoma lawmaker is proposing to tax waste water in hopes of cracking down on earthquakes.

Representative David Perryman said he was inspired to write his latest bill after learning 1.5 billion barrels of waste water was disposed in Oklahoma in 2015.

2.5 million of those barrels came from out of state.

His idea is to tax companies five cents for each barrel of waste water that is put in the ground.

Rep. Perryman wants the money to be used for seismic research or to help earthquake victims.

He said the intent of the bill is not to hurt Oklahoma companies.

The lawmaker said there would be an offset and industries in our state that pay gross production taxes would get their money back.

One of his goals is for out-of-state companies to pay up.

"If an out-of-state company that pays its taxes to the State of Kansas, but produces this waste water. They need to assist Oklahoma in protecting Oklahoma citizens if that waste water is going to be injected in Oklahoma," Rep. Perryman said.

The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association opposes the measure.

"This may be a bill that just needs to go away because it doesn't really serve a purpose," OKOGA President Chad Warmington said.

The association said less than one percent of waste water comes from other states.

"With very little revenue derived from the out of state disposal. So it doesn't really make sense," Warmington said.

He added that the oil and gas industry has contributed millions of dollars already to seismic research.

Despite the opposition, Rep. Perryman stands by his bill.

"Even if it's going to generate you know seven million dollars, or eight million dollars, or 15 million dollars, you know it's something we need to look at because it’s for the protection of Oklahomans," Perryman said.

He said his bill would also give the Oklahoma Corporation Commission the ability to better track how much waste water is being disposed of.