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Thursday, August 17th, 2017Last Update: Tuesday, August 1st, 2017 01:57:38 PM

Murphy Secures Another Term on Oklahoma Corporation Commission

By: Constitution Staff

Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy secured another six-year term after her only opponent formally withdrew from the race. The Oklahoma State Election Board issued Murphy a certificate of election on July 13 after receiving a formal notice from Democratic state Rep. Richard Morrissette that he was no longer a candidate. Morrissette cited the death of his father in April as a contributing factor in the decision. Another factor that perhaps influenced his decision is that he would have faced a Republican incumbent with over $630,000 in her campaign war chest. In Morrissettee's most recent filing with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission he reported having only about $77,000 in his campaign account.

Morrissette has represented House District 92 in south Oklahoma City for 12 years in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and could not run for reelection due to legislative term-limits.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates oil and gas drilling, electric and gas utilities, trucking, pipelines, and telecommunications in Oklahoma. There are three seats on the Corporation Commission with six-year staggered terms. Dana Murphy was reelected in 2010, Bob Anthony in 2012, and former Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, Todd Hiett, was elected commissioner in 2014. The seat held by Dana Murphy was up for election this year.

Denise Bode was elected to this seat in 2004, but resigned in 2008, two years before her term expired. Dana Murphy won a Special Election to fill the remainder of the term. Murphy of Edmond won reelection in 2010 for a full six year term. Murphy, 56, is a Republican and since no other Republicans filed for the post, she was set to move on to the General Election to be faced by Morrissette.

Murphy attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) and graduated with a bachelor's degree in geology. After practicing as a geologist for ten years, she obtained her law degree at Oklahoma City University. She has more than 22-years experience in the petroleum industry including owning and operating a private law firm focused on oil and gas title, regulatory practice and transactional work and working as a geologist. Prior to being elected commissioner, she served for almost six years as an administrative law judge at the Commission.

The campaign had been expected to focus on the earthquakes. Morrissette has been a vocal critic of Gov. Mary Fallin and the Corporation Commission and their handling of the earthquake and disposal well issue. "It's time for the Corporation Commission to protect the interests of all citizens of Oklahoma, not just a select few," said Morrissette following an earthquake forum on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma. "This commission is responsible for regulating public utilities and the energy industry -- two industries upon which Oklahoma depends for daily needs and, to a great extent, our economic development. We all need a voice on the Commission that will bring focus back to protecting citizens and enforcing responsible energy policies."

Commissioner Murphy has been intensely involved in the earthquake issue at the Commission. "The issue of earthquakes became a critically important issue for me in the past few years, because it affects public safety, property, the environment as well as the oil and gas industry." said Murphy. The commissioner said it is a complicated issue and that it is important for the Commission to follow the science and be proactive. She noted that not all injection wells cause earthquakes, but some may increase the risk for induced seismicity. "There's many factors. It has to do with the fault systems. It has to do with core pressure in the reservoirs. It has to do with the size of the reservoir," says Murphy.

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