By Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant
Hello again, everybody! Two years ago this week, several extreme left-wing activists from Oklahoma City passed out leaflets across our area attacking my support for a particular bill.
The bill, which I carried on the Senate floor, was a tax incentive benefiting companies that drill deep gas wells. These are the very gas wells being drilled all across the Senate district I represent and much of southeastern Oklahoma. These wells might not have been drilled except for the incentives I support and these activists oppose.
The drilling is happening in what is called the Woodford Shale formation. This is not a new gas discovery; geologists have known for some time this formation likely contained a great deal of natural gas. Even though everyone was confident the gas was there, it had to be financially feasible to get or it would stay locked in the ground.
The deep drilling necessary to reach this gas is among the most expensive and financially risky. The tax credit helped make the drilling more attractive for the drilling companies.
The tax credit was a good investment because these wells also generate six times the economic activity in surrounding communities than traditional-depth gas wells do. My position has always been that tax policy should encourage good behavior. In my book, the best behavior any company can exhibit is to create jobs and opportunity in Senate District 6.
Already, we are seeing new wealth pouring into southeastern Oklahoma because of this deep drilling into the Woodford Shale formation. The new prosperity is staggering. We have one company reporting it has already paid more than $3 million in royalties to mineral owners in the five counties I represent.
That is just the start because this drilling is the launch pad for even more economic growth. New workers come into the area, while local residents have opportunities to get good-paying jobs on drilling rigs. As the gas rises from deep within the earth, local economies also rise.
The drilling is generating new tax revenues and helping to boost hope and create even more jobs across our region. The “deep-drilling tax credit” was an investment in the future of southern Oklahoma that could pay dividends for generations.
For most of Oklahoma’s history, oil and gas has been the sea on which this ship of state floated. Even so, our area has been pretty far removed from prosperity energy brings; now, this resource the Lord has given us is helping to generate prosperity here in our area.
We are taught from an early age that the Lord helps those who help themselves. The deep-drilling tax credit was a way for us to help ourselves. It was the right policy for our state and for our area; I am proud to continue supporting it.
Thanks again for reading the “Senate Minute,” have a great week, and may God bless you all.