Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Why State and Federal Agencies Record Different Oklahoma Earthquake Numbers

seismograph

matthileo / Flickr

Earthquake magnitude estimations often vary wildly between the Oklahoma Geological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey.

The OGS usually reports smaller earthquakes than its federal counterpart. Since 2010, the OGS reported smaller numbers than the USGS “more than half of the time for earthquakes of magnitude 3.8 and higher,” the Tulsa World’s Ziva Branstetter and Curtis Killman report.

Here’s why:

There are two basic ways to calculate earthquake magnitude. The local magnitude, also known as the Richter scale, is accurate for smaller quakes, while moment magnitude is generally used for larger quakes but is more difficult to compute, according to the USGS.

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“Growing Wind Industry in Oklahoma Needs Greater Transparency, Community Involvement, Panel Says”

A panel discussion at the University of Tulsa’s College of Law urged “greater transparency, collaboration and community involvement if the state is to realize its potential as one of the nation’s biggest wind producers,” Paul Monies reports.


As wind farm development has moved from the rural, western part of the state to areas closer to population centers, concerns are arising over siting, noise and the effects on views for neighboring landowners. That’s tended to divide people into pro-wind and anti-wind camps, said Jason Aamodt, assistant dean of online legal education at TU’s law school. “We need to move beyond the rhetoric to real decision-making,” Aamodt said. “It gets into sustainable development, with the triple bottom line of economic development, environmental conservation and social development.”

Read more at: newsok.com

House Committee Advances Bill Placing Location Restrictions on New Wind Farms

Tammy and Rick Huffstutlar have spoken out against wind farm development near their home in Calument, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tammy and Rick Huffstutlar have spoken out against wind farm development near their home in Calument, Okla.

A bill adding new regulations and oversight of Oklahoma’s booming wind industry passed a House committee on Tuesday.

House Bill 1549, one of several bills filed in the 2015 Legislature that target the wind industry, places limits on where companies can build new wind farms. The proposed measure would prevent new wind farms from being built near schools, hospitals or airports.

The bill was written by Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville. He says landowners and the wind industry were consulted when crafting the legislation. Continue Reading

Oklahoma Right-to-Farm Legislation About More Than Agricultural Practices

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

KOMUnews / flickr

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

Oklahoma voters have at least a year before seeing ads for and against state questions on the ballot in November 2016. But you might want to get used to hearing this phrase now: right-to-farm.

It’s a divisive national issue that’s made its way to the Sooner State, one that puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights advocates.

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Growing Resistance to Legislation that Could Lead to Cross-state Water Transfers

A fisherman walks up a dry boat dock at Tom Steed Reservoir. The lake is only 24 percent full and supplies water for Altus and other cities nearby.

A fisherman walks up a dry boat dock at Tom Steed Reservoir. The lake is only 24 percent full and supplies water for Altus and other cities nearby.

A bill to study the possibility of moving water from eastern Oklahoma — where it’s abundant — to western Oklahoma — which has been suffering under half a decade of drought — has residents in the east worried about what transferring water out of their area would mean for their own water supply and the tourism so many communities there rely on.  Continue Reading

“Analysts Fear A Prolonged Drop In Oil Will Hurt Oklahoma’s Banks”

Story from NPR about worries that energy industry banks in Oklahoma and other states aren’t prepared for prolonged low oil prices.


“The severity of the drop in prices reminds me of the ’80s, but the situation is completely different,” Agee says. Banks have evolved since then, too. Dan Ellinor, chief operating officer of the Bank of Oklahoma, says regulations are stricter and lending practices are tighter. He says energy companies do hold about 20 percent of the money his bank has out on loan. This is a high percentage, and those companies are losing money fast, but Ellinor says he’s not fretting, yet.

Read more at: www.npr.org

“Oklahoma Insurers Receive Earthquake Coverage Education”

More than 2,500 insurance professionals in Oklahoma have completed a one-hour class on earthquake coverage, The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.


As the state’s ongoing earthquake swarm continues, insurance agents throughout the state are receiving training about earthquake insurance. More than 2,500 Oklahoma insurance professionals have completed a one-hour continuing education course on earthquake coverage, Insurance Commissioner John Doak said Friday.

Read more at: newsok.com

The Science of Oil and Gas-Related Earthquakes is ‘Ready for Application,’ USGS Says

"Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection," was published Feb. 20, 2014 in the journal Science.

"Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection," was published Feb. 20, 2014 in the journal Science.

A new peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Science urges greater partnership between industry, government agencies and researchers in responding to the consequences of earthquakes triggered by oil and gas activity.

The paper, authored by the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal scientists, as well as state seismologists, including the Oklahoma Geological Survey’s Austin Holland, also endorsed more transparency:

For purposes of transparency and avoiding public distrust, it is important to put the results of these seismic network operations into the public domain in near real time. Even if a network is owned and operated by industry, regulators must ensure that seismic data are not withheld from the public.

and more public involvement: Continue Reading

“Lake Hefner Water Levels Take a Plunge”

Moving water from Canton Lake helped buoy Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner in 2013. But water levels at Hefner are now at their lowest point since that withdrawal, and another would mean all but completely draining Canton.


Once again, water levels at lake Hefner are becoming a concern. As of Thursday morning, Lake Hefner was down 12 ½ feet, and running just over 47,000 acre feet. The lake is considered full at just over 75,000 acre feet. At the time, Lake Hefner is at 62 percent of capacity.

Read more at: www.koco.com

As Cities Consider Tougher Drilling Rules, Oklahoma Lawmakers Eye Limits on ‘Local Control’

Protestors outside the meeting held signs and chanted "Stop fracking now" and "No more drilling."

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Protestors outside a public meeting in Oklahoma City about an oil company's proposal to drill near Lake Hefner held signs and chanted "Stop fracking now" and "No more drilling."

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide ban on fracking in 2014, Oklahoma Rep. Casey Murdock took notice. After voters in the city of Denton, Texas — just 40 miles south of the Oklahoma state line — approved a fracking ban in the Nov. 4 election, the Republican representative from Felt took action.

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