“Turbine Turmoil: Landowners Still Worried About Wind Farm Effects”

A second public hearing on what role the Corporation Commission should have in regulating the wind energy industry was held Oct. 15, and included discussions about “siting, landowner notification and decommissioning,” the Journal Record reports.


However, the meetings aren’t designed to create rules. The study sessions are intended to establish recommended guidelines for statutes should the Legislature give the OCC authority over wind farms. The agency has authority to establish decommission policies when wind farms are retired. Tonya Hinex-Ford, energy coordinator for the OCC Public Utilities Division, said that based on submitted comments, people disagree on whether the agency should have more or less power for turbine siting. In addition, many who spoke were concerned about how utility-scale wind farms would affect wildlife and potential health effects from noise. Some residents previously told the OCC about flickering shadows inside homes caused by turbines’ spinning blades.

Read more at: journalrecord.com

“Oklahoma Water Officials Try To Keep Conservation Active”

All the recent wet weather could lead some to think water conservation isn’t as necessary as it was at the peak of the drought, but state water experts are working make conservation a higher priority in the minds of Oklahomans. That includes encouraging water reuse and making conservation a year-round proposition.


Oklahoma’s water supply is more than adequate to meet the state’s immediate needs, Oklahoma Water Resources Board executive director J.D. Strong told lawmakers Tuesday. That abundance can make it difficult to convince some water users of the importance of conserving water to prepare for a drier future, he said.

Read more at: newsok.com

Rumbles of New Scrutiny as Quakes Continue to Surge in Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin and Michael Teague, Secretary of Energy and Environment, talk to reporters at the Governor's Energy Conference in 2014.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin and Michael Teague, Secretary of Energy and Environment, talk to reporters at the Governor's Energy Conference in 2014.

Oklahoma’s earthquake surge and possible links to oil and gas activity have been studied in scientific papers, discussed at heated town-hall meetings and explored regulatory hearings.

The quakes are now triggering some rumblings at the state Capitol.

Continue Reading

Legislature Studies Red Cedar Threat and Creative Ways To Fight Its Spread

Homeowner Larry Huff holds a shard of Eastern Red Cedar, the handiwork of an Oklahoma County program that clears the flammable tree from private property.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Homeowner Larry Huff holds a shard of Eastern Red Cedar, the handiwork of an Oklahoma County program that clears the flammable tree from private property.

The eastern red cedar tree’s bad reputation for fueling wildfires, hogging water, and disrupting ecosystems in Oklahoma is drawing the attention of state lawmakers, but so are ways to put the tree to use, like to help fight cancer. Continue Reading

Three Reasons to Care That Oklahoma is No. 1 in Gypsum: Twinkies, Beer, Roads

Gypsum embedded in the landscape at Gloss Mountain State Park in Major County.

Chip Smith / Flickr

Gypsum embedded in the landscape at Gloss Mountain State Park in Major County.

Here’s what seems like a mundane factoid about the Sooner State: Oklahoma leads the nation in gypsum mining.

Mildly interesting, right? Actually, it’s fascinating, as The Oklahoman‘s Mike Coppock explains:

The next time you bite down on a Twinkie, know there is a good chance part of it was mined out of a mesa south of Little Sahara State Park.

The same goes for the beer you may order at Bricktown or the loaf of bread you buy at the grocery store.

Oklahoma not only leads the nation in gypsum mining, but gypsum in Oklahoma is so pure that it is used as a calcium additive for foods we take for granted and in common medications.

Continue Reading

“Map: Which States Get Hurt Most by Plummeting Oil Prices?”

The price plunge poses economic risks for states that are particularly dependent on oil drilling — particularly Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alaska, and Texas.


Here’s the bottom line: “[F]alling oil prices would cause overall employment losses in Wyoming, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Alaska, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, and New Mexico, with the greatest percentage losses in the first three.” This sort of boom and bust is hardly unprecedented. Between 1979 and 1982, global oil prices increased tenfold thanks to decreased output after the Iranian Revolution. Texas, a major oil-producing state, benefitted hugely — growing at a torrid 7.5 percent annual rate during that time. But then prices crashed in 1982, and Texas’ economy crashed along with it, falling into a deep two-year recession.

Read more at: www.vox.com

How a Wind Farm is Helping Save the Family Farm in Western Oklahoma

Monte Tucker, left, stands with his son and dad on the family's farm near Sweetwater, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Monte Tucker, left, stands with his son and dad on the family's farm near Sweetwater, Okla.

In the ongoing debate about Oklahoma’s wind industry and whether it needs stricter regulation, two types of property owners have been the most vocal: those who hate the idea of turbines next door, and those eager to lease land to a wind company.

But there’s a voice that’s been largely absent from the discussion so far: Landowners who have wind farms and like them.

Continue Reading

Drought and Conservation Driving Water Contamination in Duncan

Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Duncan Public Works Director Scott Vaughn

Duncan’s water supplies are already in bad shape because of the drought. Lake Waurika — Duncan’s main water source — is only about 32 percent full, and city officials are beginning to look toward groundwater as a lake levels continue to drop.

And if it weren’t enough for water supplies to be stretched to their limits, now the water itself is contaminated. Continue Reading

“Property Rights Group Tells Legislators Oklahoma Wind Farm Tax Credits Are Unsustainable”

Millions in tax subsidies to wind power companies could grow to become “unsustainable,” a property rights group told legislators last week.


Using Oklahoma Tax Commission records, Rick Mosier, of the Oklahoma Property Rights Association, discussed the growth of Oklahoma zero-emission tax credits. These are awarded to wind power companies based on how much electricity they generate. More than $40 million of these credits were awarded in 2012. Beginning this year, qualifying companies can get 85 percent of the credit in a check from the state even if they have no tax liability.

Read more at: newsok.com

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education