Dr. Cynthia Rogers
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:
This project was created to provide a comprehensive assessment of risks and hazards associated with oil and gas activity in the City of Norman, Oklahoma. In accordance with its completion, a comprehensive database of oil and gas activity occurring within Cleveland County - the county in which Norman lies - has been created. The database will include risk factors associated with each drilling well, storage tank, and injection well. After creating the database, we analyzed the most cost-effective ways to mitigate risks to the community. In particular, research over best practices for inspections and oversight drawing from industry standards and practices in other communities provided valuable information for the risk involvements. Finally, a report with a menu of options for mitigating risk factors was created. This report was disseminated to the broader community via publishing online and a public presentation and dialogue. This project would not have been feasible without the cooperation of the City of Norman, the Oklahoma Corporate Commission, the US Geological Survey, the University of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Corporate Commission, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, the City of Norman Planning Department and Legal Staff and countless other municipal governments and businesses.
Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:
During this project, I learned a lot about the importance of communication and the complexity of government-business interactions. The amount of oversight and correspondence between institutions proved to be quite a challenge to navigate over the course of the project. Being able to understand more of the reasoning for the slowness of government interactions within businesses gave me a better understanding of how our government uses its speed as a means to insulate the public from potential business shortfalls. Of course - as discovered through my project- this process can also cause potential harm to the public when business expansion eclipses the protection that the government intends to provide. In this case, that shortfall was the lack of regulation that the government places on oil and gas producers over the past decade.To my fellow students, I would encourage involvement in any opportunity that comes your way. Initially, I was unsure of becoming involved in this project because I worried that it would be too strenuous and impact my academic performance. However, I have found that it is better to have real, impactful experiences instead of focusing on a number that is soon to be insignificant. For those curious about tackling a big project: do it and take the risk. Contributions to the world as a whole are much more valuable to your well-being - as both an undergraduate student, and life-long learner.