Natural Resources and Regulatory Agencies and Services

Natural Resources and Regulatory Agencies and Services

State appropriations support many agencies that promote or regulate the private economy.

  • The Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry promotes and regulates farming, operates state forests, and fights wildland fires. The agency received appropriations of $27 million in FY 2021 and receives about $22 million more each year from user fees.
  • The Department of Commerce received $18 million in appropriated funds in FY 2021 and also receives about $45 million from grants and user fees. This department assists businesses with international trade opportunities, administering tax incentive programs, location services, and technical assistance. It also helps develop communities through planning assistance and federal grants for infrastructure, community services, and utility assistance.
  • The Department of Tourism and Recreation operates the state parks system and promotes tourism and film-making in Oklahoma. Its FY 2021 appropriation of $22 million is supplemented by approximately $63 million in revolving funds from state parks and other fees.
  • The Oklahoma Corporation Commission regulates private utilities, the trucking industry, and the oil and gas industry. Its $17 million appropriation in FY 2021 is supplemented by approximately $45 million in fees paid by regulated industries and federal grants.
  • The Conservation Commission supports rural and urban land and water conservation projects. Its FY 2021 appropriation of $13 million represents about one-third of the agency’s total spending, the rest coming mainly from federal grants.
  • The Oklahoma Historical Society, which operates 15 museums and 16 historic military sites and homes around the state, received $12 million in appropriations in FY 2021.
  • The Department of Environmental Quality regulates water and air pollution. Its FY 2021 appropriation of $7 million represents just 9 percent of its total budget, which is made up primarily of fees and federal grants.
  • The Oklahoma Water Resources Board manages water allocations and help fund local water and sewer projects. It received $5 million in state appropriations in FY 2021.

Other natural resources and regulatory agencies that receive smaller appropriations, including departments of Labor and Mines and the J.M. Davis Memorial Commission.

Some natural resources and regulatory agencies receive no appropriations.

  • The Grand River Dam Authority generates and transmits electricity and reduces flooding in northeastern Oklahoma. It collects over $450 million each year from sales of electricity and other fees.
  • The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority purchases electricity and provides it at the wholesale level to electric utilities that are operated by many towns and cities. It spends approximately $200 million per year.
  • The Department of Wildlife Conservation protects wildlife and regulates hunting and fishing. It spends approximately $60 million each year, about half each from license fees and federal funding.
  • The Insurance Department regulates insurance companies, funeral homes, bail bondsmen, and real estate appraisers, and collects over $300 million in insurance premium taxes. The Department collects approximately $45 million in fees each year.
  • The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board promotes the oil and gas industry and helps clean up environmental damage at well sites. It spends over $18 million per year, mostly from a voluntary assessment paid by well operators.
  • Several agencies regulate financial services and are funded by fees charged to regulated businesses, including the Banking Department (annual spending of $7 million) , the Commission on Consumer Credit  ($6 million), and the Securities Commission ($5 million).

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