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Stillwater drilling ordinance vote delayed

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STILLWATER, Okla. -- Members of the group “Stop Fracking Payne County” say they’re disappointed to find out the Stillwater City Council has delayed a vote on zoning regulations for drilling in their city, especially when they found out what might have prompted the delay.

“Evidently, there were meetings with paid lobbyists who were in town,” group organizer Kel Pickens said.

“I’m not happy about it.  I’m very angry actually, very angry.  I was extremely angry once I found out,” said his wife, Carolyn Meyer.

After watching last week’s city council meeting, Pickens and Meyer said they learned that lobbyists had met with four of the five council members.

City Councilor Gina Noble met with the lobbyists and says they wanted to push Stillwater’s vote back until a couple bills were decided at the capitol.

“They would like us to wait to vote until something got settled at the capitol,” said Noble.

One of those bills would take away local municipalities rights to regulate oil and gas.

“Municipal governments can make a better decision about city zoning than the state can,” said Noble.

Despite hearing the lobbyists’ concerns, Noble voted against the delay.

But it passed three to two.

“The oil companies and gas companies have a lot of money to spend and of course they could see that our resistance was growing strong, so they sent their lobbyists in,” said Meyer.

But members of Stop Fracking Payne County say the delay is not slowing them down.

They still plan to speak at next week’s city council meeting, the day the issue was supposed to be heard by the council.

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