Advocating for ONEOK includes educating stakeholders about our business and industry, and providing recommendations for policies that support efficient operations and our ability to execute on our capital-growth strategies. This includes understanding the impacts various legislative and regulatory policies may have on our business, utilizing ONEOK Employee Political Action Committee (ONEOK Employee PAC) membership and resources and engaging with industry associations.
In 2017, we advocated for new, or improved, pipeline safety legislation to reduce the likelihood of third-party damage to our assets and resulting events.
In Oklahoma, North Dakota and Montana, we focused on creating, or updating, One Call legislation. One Call is a nationwide pipeline damage prevention program. Through the creation of new laws and/or amendments, we continue to see improvements in participation requirements, data collection and management and response times to incidents.
Additionally in Oklahoma, we promoted and assisted in passing new laws that established criminal penalties for individuals or groups who intend to damage critical infrastructure facilities, such as pipelines. It also included imposing civil liability penalties on individuals arrested for trespassing on critical infrastructure facilities.
ONEOK advocates for legislation that protects private property owner rights while allowing for the responsible development of critical infrastructure. In 2017, adverse eminent domain legislation was proposed in Oklahoma and Texas.
In Texas, we joined the Texas Coalition for Critical Infrastructure, which included more than 20 industry groups, to find a consensus on the issue and engage landowners to discuss a compromise to the language in the legislation.
Ultimately, legislation was not passed in either state; however, we expect similar proposals during the 2019 legislative session. Between sessions, we are monitoring a study by the Texas Land and Resource Management Committee on a balance between necessary infrastructure growth and fair compensation for landowners.
Environment and Safety Reporting
In North Dakota in 2017, we supported the successful passage of legislation creating an optional self-audit program for environmental and/or safety and health violations. We also supported the creation of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.
Following session, we continued to monitor spill reporting and reclamation discussions. We also participated in a pipeline spill and leak detection stakeholders meeting at the Energy and Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The meeting was intended to help identify innovative technological solutions for leak and spill detection, in lieu of additional regulations.
ONEOK Employee PAC
The ONEOK Employee PAC provides eligible employees the opportunity to engage in policy issues related to our industry.
Additionally, members of the ONEOK Employee PAC are given opportunities to learn more about our business and advocacy efforts, as they are valuable partners in discussions about potential policy impacts on our business.
ONEOK Employee PAC contributions increase ONEOK’s participation in the political process related to our business, helping ONEOK support candidates who understand our business and its value in their election efforts.
Note: One-hundred percent of ONEOK PAC contributions are from employee PAC members. ONEOK, as a corporation, does not contribute to political candidates or political parties. Those eligible to be members of the ONEOK PAC include employees who are shareholders and employees who are officers and administrative personnel. All contributions to the ONEOK PAC are voluntary, and employees may refuse to contribute without reprisal. ONEOK does not favor or disadvantage anyone by reason of the amount of their contribution or their election not to contribute.
Employee PAC CONTRIBUTIONS
In 2017, the ONEOK Employee PAC contributed $49,150 to 98 state and federal candidates:
ONEOK’s involvement with industry associations, legislative and/or regulatory committees and other stakeholder groups strengthens our ability to advocate for ONEOK’s interests. Through involvement in these groups, we participate in discussions about policy issues related to our business and provide input from the midstream sector.
In 2017, ONEOK was involved in more than 20 groups in 10 states within our footprint and Washington, D.C., including:
- Interstate Natural Gas Association of America’s Legislative and Communications committees and Tax Task Force.
- GPA Midstream Association, including its Legislative and Regulatory committees.
- Association of Oil Pipeline’s Legislative Committee.
- American Petroleum Institute.
- Master Limited Partnership Association.
- National Petroleum Council.
- State Chamber of Oklahoma Board of Directors and its Legislative Affairs committee; Economic Development, Taxation and Retail committee; and Energy and Natural Resources committees.
- Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association’s Midstream, Legislative and Regulatory Practices committees.
- Environmental Federation of Oklahoma.
Kansas, Illinois, Colorado and Indiana
- Kansas Petroleum Council’s Legislative Committee.
- Illinois Petroleum Council’s Legislative Committee.
- Colorado Petroleum Council’s Legislative Committee.
- Indiana Petroleum Council’s Legislative Committee.
Texas and New Mexico
- Texas Oil and Gas Association’s Legislative, Regulatory Practices, Pipeline and Communications committees.
- Texas Pipeline Association.
- New Mexico Oil and Gas Association.
North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming
- North Dakota Common Ground Alliance Board of Directors.
- North Dakota One Call Stakeholders Group.
- North Dakota Petroleum Council’s Regulatory, Outreach, Communications and Tribal Lands committees.
- North Dakota EmPower Commission.
- Montana One Call Stakeholders Group.
- Montana Petroleum Association’s Legislative and Communications committees.
- Petroleum Association of Wyoming’s Legislative Committee.
- North Dakota Flaring Task Force.