Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

“Regulators Consider Drilling Rule Changes in Oklahoma”

Oklahoma regulators are updating “forced pooling” rules — which allows wells to be drilled if most, but not all, mineral interest owners agree. “Much of the controversy centers on what should happen when a company wants to drill a horizontal well in an area with an existing vertical well,” The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.


“These issues are more complicated than ever,” Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy said. “The framework of the pooling laws has existed for many years. I don’t think that framework was designed for the world we’re living in now. When the pooling process was put in place, it was not put in place for this.” Owners of the existing vertical wells expressed concern about how their wells should be valued and about how much communication they should have with the applicants before a forced pooling action is taken.

Read more at: newsok.com

Small Oklahoma Town Hunts For More Water As Cleveland Lake Silts In

Cleveland, Oklahoma — population 3,200 — relies on a small reservoir southwest of the city for its water, despite being located on the banks of the Arkansas River.

And a water crisis is brewing there. But the problem can’t be blamed oncrumbling pipelines, an obsolete treatment plant, or drought — though more rain is needed. The problem is silt. The Cleveland Reservoir is nearly 80 years old.

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Confusion Fueling Oklahoma Outcry Over EPA’s ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule

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Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Mason Bolay climbs into the cab of a tractor on his family's farm near Perry, Okla.

Oklahoma Congressman Jim Bridenstine calls it a power grab by an imperial president. U.S. Representative Frank Lucas says it would trigger an onslaught of additional red tape for famers and ranchers in Oklahoma.

That kind of hyperbole is expected anytime President Barack Obama’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency does, well, anything. But the changes being proposed to the way bodies of water are classified are confusing.

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State Officials: Oklahoma Needs Oil Industry’s Help to Meet Water Goals

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Daniel Foster / Flickr

Insufficient rains and increasing demand put enormous pressure on Oklahoma’s water resources both on the surface and underground. But it’s also hard to overstate the role evaporation plays in the drought.

The oil and gas industry has been part of the problem, storing tens of millions of gallons of water needed for the hydraulic fracturing process in large, open pits, leaving it to be ravaged by evaporation until the water is needed.

As The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s J.D. Strong says the industry has to change its ways “to help the state meet its Water for 2060 goal of using no more water in 2060 as was used in 2012.” Continue Reading

“Study Links Increased Drilling With Earthquakes”

A 5.3-magnitude quake that struck Colorado in 2011 was likely caused by wastewater injection, according to a new paper published in the Bulletin of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. The study “adds more detail to a growing body of work seeking to establish and explain the connection between human activity and seismic events, known as induced quakes,” the Wall Street Journal reports.


A connection between wastewater injections and induced quakes is rapidly becoming widely accepted in the Colorado-New Mexico region and elsewhere. But a more difficult task for scientists has been connecting specific quakes to injection sites, especially when there also has been natural seismic activity. The new study presents research linking specific injection wells to quake activity in the region using fluid-injection data and seismic monitors.

Read more at: online.wsj.com

Attorney Asks Oklahoma Supreme Court to Dismiss His Challenge to Oil and Gas Law

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenge laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenge laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.

An Oklahoma City attorney who challenged the constitutionality of a bill that changed the effective tax rate levied on oil and gas drillers asked the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Monday to dismiss his lawsuit.

From The Oklahoman‘s Rick Green:

Jerry Fent, of Oklahoma City, told the court that “upon further consideration and for the benefit of those herein and hereout” he was filing for the lawsuit to be dismissed, with prejudice, meaning it could not be refiled. He said he still has a separate lawsuit pending against an income tax reduction measure.

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Drought-Stricken Cities in Southwest Oklahoma Look for Water Underground

After four years of drought, municipal water storage in in Altus-Lugert lake has dropped to about 10 percent.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

After four years of drought, municipal water storage in in Altus-Lugert lake has dropped to about 10 percent.

Water supplies in southwest Oklahoma are in danger of drying up as four years of drought drag lake levels to record lows. Some communities are scrambling to supplement their current water sources, while others look for new sources — in Texas.

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