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Oklahoma has history of blocking pipeline construction

Pipeline protest issued by Oklahoma governor on the first statehood day.
Oklahoman Modified: May 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm •  Published: May 15, 2013

Hundreds of pipelines crisscross Oklahoma, a state with a rich history of oil and natural gas activity, but its leaders haven't always been friendly to the industry.

In his second official act as governor after Oklahoma achieved statehood, Gov. Charles Haskell directed Washington County authorities to prevent construction of a natural gas pipeline by Standard Oil Co. in 1907.

Haskell ordered the sheriff to arrest anyone who tried to “sink a spade” in Oklahoma soil, according to the Nov. 17, 1907, edition of The Daily Oklahoman.

The sheriff gathered a large posse and stopped work in the pipeline within 200 feet of the Oklahoma border, according to a telegram the governor received from John Shea, of Bartlesville, who had been appointed special deputy county attorney.

Standard Oil could not build the pipeline into Oklahoma before statehood because it could not secure right of way over Indian allotments.

Construction of interstate pipelines was forbidden in the Oklahoma Constitution. The newspaper reported the Standard Oil pipeline would have given the company an “absolute monopoly” in exporting gas from Oklahoma.

“I told the Standard Oil Co. and kindred monopolies before election that if they did not lick me at the polls I would lick them every day that I was governor until they decided to abide by the law,” Haskell said.