McGirt decision impact on state oil and gas industry examined during OEPA briefing with state legislators

The Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance held a virtual briefing Wednesday for state legislators to discuss the McGirt decision's impact on the oil and gas industry. ASSOCIATED PRESS

The McGirt decision's impact on the oil and gas industry was a major topic Wednesday at a briefing held for state legislators by the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance.

OEPA President Dewey Bartlett Jr. presided over the roughly 100-minute online event, during which Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter spoke at length about the state's economic future.

"One of my most important responsibilities is protecting the state's economic activities," Hunter said. "There's no more important stream of commerce in this state than the exploration and production of hydrocarbons."

The OEPA, which has about 560 members in 100 communities, promotes and protects the rights of vertical oil and gas producers in Oklahoma.

Regarding McGirt v. Oklahoma, the Supreme Court in July ruled that major crimes committed by or upon American Indians within the 1860s-era boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation should be tried in federal rather than state court because Congress never disestablished the reservation.

The high court's confirmation of the Creek reservation and those of the other Five Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole) clouds how the energy industry could be regulated within those boundaries.

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