Environmental concerns for new businesses in Oklahoma
Oklahoma is gaining a reputation as a big energy state with large stakes in the oil, natural gas and, more recently, the wind generation industries. According to the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, approximately a fourth of all jobs in the state are tied to energy companies, either directly or indirectly.
During the most recent recession, Oklahoma residents were spared from the worst effects due to low unemployment rates and a strong economy. Oil and gas companies are large part of the resilience of the state, offering steady jobs and good wages. It is no wonder that new businesses are drawn to the possibility of success in the state.
New business considerations
Any new business in Oklahoma must comply with numerous business regulations and laws in order to operate in the state. Some of these issues include the following:
- Entity formation: Choosing the best business form for your new venture is a vital step to protecting your business and personal assets from liability. The type of entity you choose will also affect your taxes and how your business is operated. Common entity types include partnerships, corporations and sole proprietorships.
- Contracts and agreements: It is important to maintain written contracts and agreements for every aspect of your new business. Failure to document employment agreements, vendor and supplier contracts, independent contractor agreements and customer purchase orders can easy land a business in hot water if a dispute arises. The written word generally provides stronger evidence than oral statements if a disagreement ends up involving you in a lawsuit.
New businesses in Oklahoma, especially those in the oil and gas industries, must also comply with environmental rules and regulations. Federal and state laws regulate an industry’s impact on the environment and governmental entities may impose fines for violations of those rules. Many compliance issues affect Oklahoma businesses and include the following:
- The Clean Air Act sets minimum standards for air pollution mitigation.
- Activities that may affect threatened or endangered animals or other species are regulated by the Endangered Species Act.
- The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act regulates storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste materials.
- A number of various federal laws regulate work performed in or near wetlands in order to mitigate damage to shorelines, forests and waterways.
Consult a lawyer
If you own or operate a business in Oklahoma, or are contemplating starting a new business in the state, consult an experienced business lawyer. An attorney knowledgeable about various aspects of business formation and ownership can help get you started on the right foot and help you avoid potential disputes.