Tornado victims wait in line to apply for FEMA assistance Wednesday in Moore, Okla.
An army of insurance adjusters from across the country started to descend on Moore less 24 hours after Monday’s storm, and by Wednesday morning, a long line of them had formed outside the First Baptist Church.
Many were already in the area because of hail and tornados from earlier storms, and now they’re in destroyed neighborhoods assessing damage house by house.
FEMA is on the ground in Moore as well, helping people fill out the proper paperwork to start the process of receiving federal financial aid and assistance. The earlier insurance claims and eligibility forms are filled out, the more quickly the money will come.
But insurance adjusters and FEMA workers are just facilitators. And they can’t fully do their jobs until victims do theirs.
Stella and Jack Howard (left and right) with their daughter, Dawnelaina (center), sit with the remains of their Moore home. The Howards built this house after their last one was destroyed by the May 3, 1999, twister.
Just a quick update: Logan Layden and I are safe and sound. We’ve been sidetracked a bit from our daily StateImpact duties to help local stations and NPR report and cover the aftermath of the Moore tornado. We’ve helped with live reporting, filed stories, and helped document the devastation with photos.
We’re working on some in-depth tornado-related journalism for the StateImpact banner, too, but we expect to return to our government policy beats in short order.
The Vendome Well at the Chickasaw National Recreation Area in Sulphur, Okla.
The State of Oklahoma and the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations have been negotiating for more than a year over who controls the water across a large area of southeast Oklahoma.
Four stays have been issued in the case — the last in mid-February — and it looks like both sides still need more time to come to an agreement.
There’s no word on how negotiations are progressing, or if any progress is being made. The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office isn’t saying much. Spokeswoman Diane Clay would only tell StateImpact “the parties expect the stay to be extended.”
At issue is whether the state or tribal governments control water across 22 southeastern Oklahoma counties. The suit was first filed in 2011 after Oklahoma City attempted to purchase more water storage rights in Sardis Lake for future municipal use.
The Choctaw and Chickasaw nations base their claim on the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, but the state has been determining water rights since 1907.
Robert Douglas Lawler, senior vice president of international and deepwater operations at Anadarko Petroleum, has been chosen to lead the Oklahoma City natural gas giant, which has been seeking a permanent replacement for co-founder Aubrey McClendon, who was forced out of the company on April 1.
Lawler starts on June 17. In choosing him, Chesapeake is getting “a relatively youthful but seasoned industry hand as it seeks to coax greater profits from its extensive oil-and-gas holdings,” the Wall Street Journal‘s Daniel Gilbert reports:
Mr. Lawler, who has spent 25 years at Anadarko and a predecessor company, also has experience directing operations in some of Chesapeake’s core areas, including shale-rock formations in Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Texas.
Barney Hillerman Collection / Oklahoma Historical Society
An arial view of the Belle Isle Power Plant in Oklahoma City taken around the time a gas turbine was installed there in 1949.
In a broadcast story last week, StateImpact talked about how Oklahoma relies heavily on six major coal-fired power plants and the Wyoming coal that’s needed to run them — despite sitting on one of the largest supplies of natural gas in the country.
We wanted to find out what explains this paradox. So we did some research and called some power companies.
Kloza tells KWGS refining capacity in this part of the nation is the lowest it has been since about 1990. He expects the wholesale, and thereby the retail, price of gasoline to continue to climb for the next several weeks. He says price will flirt with the $4 a gallon mark. He says right now, wholesale prices in Oklahoma are higher than in Texas, the East Coast and even California. He says once refineries get back in line prices will drop almost as dramatically as they increased. Kloza says the price drop should come in early June. Until, then it will be very painful at the pump.
Roger Root stands next to an wastewater holding tank near an injection well on his Newton, Ohio farm. Ohio banned wastewater injection wells in risky areas after a series of earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.
The 5.7-magnitude earthquake that destroyed 14 homes and injured two Oklahomans in November 2011 was the nation’s largest quake linked to injecting wastewater from oil and gas production deep underground. But neither that quake near Prague, nor Oklahoma’s recent spike in seismic activity, has provoked lawmakers or regulators here to write rules to protect public safety.
The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations are helping small communities with their water infrastructure needs in southern Oklahoma. In north-central Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation’s focus is on power generation, as the Tulsa World’s Jarrell Wade reports:
…five tribes will jointly operate the facility with 45 turbines on 3,000 acres of Cherokee-owned property and 45 more turbines on 3,000 acres owned by the four other tribes – the Kaw Nation, Otoe-Missouria Tribe, Pawnee Nation and Ponca Nation.
The Cherokee Nation’s partner is Chicago-based PNE Wind USA Inc. Development of the wind farm will begin immediately, tribal officials said.
Cherokee Nation Chief Bill John Baker told the paper building the largest wind farm of its kind on tribal land would be good for jobs, energy independence, and the environment:
Cleveland County Rural Water District No. 1 was established more than ten years ago, but the board that oversees it is still having trouble determining how to get a well drilled for the town of Lexington and the prison facilities there.
At this time, Lexington prison facilities and the city of Lexington need a water well. The rural district hopes to drill on land owned by the Department of Corrections in the Lexington area. Capital Assets is managing DOC property right now, leaving it unclear which entity needs to sign off on water rights and what red tape is involved.
A judge barred three people — who already had been arrested in Atoka County — from interfering with pipeline construction, but he did not rule on the others named in TransCanada’s lawsuit, the environmental group said Friday.
The group contends the lawsuit is part of a broader campaign to “criminalize” dissent and discredit opposition to what it calls a “dangerous” project. Protesters are concerned about the possible hazards posed by the Gulf Coast Project pipeline’s transportation of diluted bitumen from Canada’s oil sands.