Osage County residents honored for commitment to restoring land

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Osage County residents honored for commitment to restoring land

Woodward — Six Osage County residents were honored for their commitment to restoring Oklahoma’s orphaned and abandoned well sites at a special luncheon last Thursday in Pawhuska.

Frank Ware, Ira Lookout, David Burress, Mark Hendricks, John T. Manning and Richard Winlock, all Bureau of Indian Affairs Field Inspectors, were honored by the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board for submitting orphaned or abandoned well sites to the OERB for clean up in 2012/2013.

The OERB relies heavily on the help of field inspectors to notify them of abandoned well sites around the state. Since the OERB’s inception in 1994, more than $83 million has been spent restoring more than 13,000 sites. The restorations are voluntarily funded by Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners, at absolutely no cost to landowners. In 2013, 84 well sites in Osage County were restored at a cost of $201,098.

“The OERB restores approximately two to three sites per day in Oklahoma,” said Steve Sowers, environmental director for the OERB. “Without the help of our field inspectors, it would be much more difficult to identify all the sites in need of restoration. They are the ones out in the field every day, so we rely on them to notify us of locations we should be targeting.”

Oklahoma Field Inspectors are divided into four separate districts. In 2013, the BIA and Oklahoma Corporation Commission District offices submitted a combined total of 274 projects.

Created by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1993, the OERB is funded voluntarily by oil and natural gas producers and royalty owners through a 1/10th of 1 percent assessment on the sale of oil and natural gas. The OERB’s purpose is to conduct environmental restoration of orphaned and abandoned well sites and to educate Oklahomans about energy. For more visit