After a year of grassroots opposition, tumultuous local politics and lawsuits, the City of Piedmont has reached an agreement with Apex Clean Energy over a proposed 130-turbine wind farm.
On Dec. 9, the city council voted to approve an agreement with the Virginia-based company, “with the blessing” of the Central Oklahoma Property Rights Association, an organization that was fighting the project over concerns that the turbines would harm property values, the Piedmont Citizen‘s Ben Felder reports:
The agreement states that turbines will not be constructed within a “no turbine area” that stretches primarily west of Piedmont to Manning Rd. The agreement also states that turbines will not be larger than 499 feet from “the ground to the highest tip of the turbine blade” and that the turbines won’t be built within 1,500 feet of a non-participating landowner. Continue Reading
Crude oil has started filling the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is expected to go into service on Jan. 3, 2014.
Over the next few weeks, pipeline operator TransCanada will inject 3 million barrels into the 485-mile pipeline, which connects Oklahoma’s Cushing oil hub with refineries along the Gulf Coast, The Oklahoman‘s Jay Marks reports:
The pipeline, dubbed the Gulf Coast Project, is the southern leg of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada’s oil sands and the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to refineries in the Houston area.
“If these products will be made regardless, why would we criticize domestic opportunities to do so,” Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Mike Terry tells the Journal Record.
Some of the best new oil and gas plays are in some of the most remote areas of the country, where there’s little to no pipeline infrastructure to move freshly drilled crude out.
And getting the massive amounts of tracking sand to where is a major issue, too. The answer to both problems? Railroads, as The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:
The boom in oil and natural gas drilling from shale means the nation’s railroads are handling more unit trains of crude oil and shipments of sand used in hydraulic fracturing, a vice president for BNSF Railway Co. said Tuesday.
Dean Wise spoke to the Rotary Club of Oklahoma City. He says in 2013, BNSF will handle more than half a million barrels of crude oil by “rolling pipeline,” up from practically none just four years ago. And it’s North Dakota’s doing. Continue Reading
A new study of atmospheric methane in the United States suggests much higher levels than previously thought. The new data raises questions about the impact of natural gas production in Oklahoma and neighboring states, where emission estimates have more than doubled.
Exactly where the border between Oklahoma and Texas lies along the Red River has never been completely clear, especially where Lake Texoma covers the original river shore.
The dispute over water and the whereabouts of the border predates statehood, and has led to Supreme Court cases — most recently, the court sided against a north Texas water district that wanted to use water from Oklahoma’s Red River tributaries.
Once the fight nearly became literal when, in 1931, Texas barricaded a bridge across the river, causing Oklahoma Gov. “Alfalfa” Bill Murray to deploy the National Guard. The notorious governor even packed his antique revolver and visited the battle zone himself.
It looked like the issue had finally been settled in 2000, the last time the border was redrawn, but more than a decade later, errors have been found in the latest line.
And as The Texas Tribune‘s Jim Malewitz reports, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation creating a commission to address the issue, but is apparently in no hurry to find a fix:
In June, Perry signed legislation creating the Red River Boundary Commission, a five-member body meant to study and possibly redraw the border along Lake Texoma to fix a mapping error that helped form a sea of troubles for North Texas water managers. The law instructed the governor to make the appointments “as soon as practicable” after passage “but not later than December 1.”
… But the clock ran out on Sunday, with no word about the appointments.
Oklahoma City insurance agent Matt Pryor tells the AP: “It used to be, ‘Do I need earthquake coverage?’ Now it’s changed to, ‘How much insurance do I need?’”
Oklahoma is four years into a “swarm” of unusual earthquakes, and is now the second most seismically active state in the continental United States, an EnergyWire analysis shows.
Two hundred and forty earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater — the threshold at which people can generally perceive them — have been reported in Oklahoma since 2009. That means 10 percent of the earthquakes in the continental U.S. have occurred in Oklahoma, according to the news service.
EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports:
Most of the state’s quakes can be grouped into four seismic outbreaks since early 2009 that academics and researchers of various stripes have linked to oil and gas activities, primarily deep underground injection of drilling wastewater.
The “social cost” of carbon is an attempt to quantify the cost of changes in farm production, human health, property damage from floods and other hazards related to climate change, The Oklahoman reports.
The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust has taken a lot of criticism the past few years over how it’s gone about securing enough water to meet the city’s needs.
Efforts to import more water from southeast Oklahoma have been met with stiff resistance there, and the OCWUT isn’t very popular in Canton, Okla., either, after Oklahoma City drained billions of gallons of water from Canton Lake for its own use earlier this year.
One of the biggest complaints StateImpact has heard from residents in Canton and southeast Oklahoma: Oklahoma City should conserve the water it has before taking it from them.
And according M. Scott Carter’s story in The Journal Record, the OCWUT says it took those complaints to heart and it’s Progressive Water Conservation Program — which started in May — is proof:
Under the program, water conservation is mandatory all year. Residents whose address numbers end in an even number may water their yards on even-numbered days, while those whose house numbers end in an odd number may water on odd-numbered days, said Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust spokeswoman Debbie Ragan.
The program also includes hefty fines ranging from $202 to $612 for violations.