Oklahoma Energy Resources Board completes milestone cleanup

The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board recently completed its 12,000th well site cleanup, which was on the property of Osage County residents Earl and Dorothy Fink.
by Jay F. Marks Modified: October 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm •  Published: October 19, 2012
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Earl and Dorothy Fink settled here in 1995 after he retired from Amoco in Tulsa.

At first Earl Fink didn't want any part of the Osage County property, even though he admits “I like the country up here.”

Fink recognized the signs of an old saltwater spill on the 320-acre ranch, but eventually he saw the land's potential despite damage wrought by oil and natural gas activity.

Fink has spent years cleaning up as much of the abandoned oil-field equipment as he could with “a tractor and a chain,” but he needed some help from the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board to fully restore the property.

Crews hired by OERB removed cement foundations, tank batteries and steel flow lines. They even cleaned up the spill on the north side of the Finks' property, making it possible for grass to grow there again.

“They did more than we even asked for,” he said.

It was the 12,000th cleanup OERB has completed since it was created in 1993.

The agency, which is funded voluntarily by producers and royalty owners through a one-tenth of 1 percent assessment on the sale of oil and natural gas, now has completed 12,233 cleanups in 67 counties. It has spent more than $74 million on those efforts on sites where the operator responsible for the damage cannot be found.

“The OERB started with an original list of 17 remediation projects. Sites are not just a plot of land but a part of someone's property and livelihood,” Executive Director Mindy Stitt said. “To know we have now positively affected more than 12,000 landowners by returning the land to a usable state is a point of pride for the OERB and the oil and natural gas industry.”

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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Information

To get help from the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board in cleaning up abandoned oil-field sites, call (800) 664-1301 or go to www.oerb.com.

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