“Bill Giving Oklahoma Attorney General Say In Clean Power Plan Response Passes House”

Oklahoma lawmakers are being forced to take sides on President Obama’s Clean Power Plan in the form of their votes on Senate Bill 676, which gives Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt a larger role in developing the state’s plan to comply with the new rules.

Echols warned his House colleagues that voting against the bill would be an endorsement of the EPA’s plan, which he called an overreach from a “rogue agency.”

“This vote will decide where you stand on EPA overreach,” Echols said.

Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, questioned why the bill was needed when Pruitt already has been active in fighting other EPA rules.

“Why do we need this extra step, this extra way for him to challenge this?” Virgin said.

Read more at: newsok.com

Oklahoma House Advances Anti-Frack Ban Bill

Drilling rig near northwest Oklahoma City.

katsrcool / Flickr

Drilling rig near northwest Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma House on Wednesday voted 64-32 in approving legislation that would prevent officials in towns, cities and counties from banning oil and gas drilling and related production.

Senate Bill 809 now returns to the Senate for consideration. The measure, authored by Senate Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, is one of several bills lawmakers proposed during the 2015 legislative session to limit municipal authority over the oil and gas industry. Continue Reading

“Oklahomans Feel Way More Earthquakes Than Californians; Now They Know Why”

From our reporting on NPR’s ‘Morning Edition’: “State officials have been slow to formally link the industry to the earthquakes. The oil and gas industry is one of the largest economic drivers in Oklahoma — sales tax revenues from drilling and associated business allowed Medford to build a new community pool, among other projects.”

This morning, the U.S. Geological Survey will issue its first comprehensive assessment of the hazard posed by earthquakes linked to oil and gas drilling. In the preliminary report, the survey details oil and gas-related quakes in eight states. The earthquake surge is strongest in Oklahoma, where the state government has formally acknowledged the link for the first time earlier this week.

Read more at: kgou.org

Update: What StateImpact Is Watching In Oklahoma’s 2015 Legislative Session


Matthew Rutledge / Flickr

There’s only about a month left in Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session, and if bills haven’t made it out of the chamber they started in by now, they’re dead.

Of the bills of interest to us at StateImpact, the highest profile place new restrictions the wind industry and reduce local control over oil and gas activities. Wind farms have been getting a reimbursement on their property taxes, but that will almost certainly end if Senate Bill 498 get’s to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. Last Thursday, Republican Representative Earl Sears told the House his bill has the blessing of the wind industry.

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State Seismologist: Oklahoma Earthquakes ‘Very Likely’ Triggered by Oil and Gas Disposal Wells

The offices of Gov. Mary Fallin and the Secretary of Energy and Environment debuted a new web portal, earthquakes.ok.gov, to serve as a "one-stop-shop" for quake research and regulatory news.

The offices of Gov. Mary Fallin and the Secretary of Energy and Environment debuted a new web portal, earthquakes.ok.gov, to serve as a "one-stop-shop" for quake research and regulatory news.

Disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry are ‘very likely’ responsible for the recent surge of earthquakes in Oklahoma, the state seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday.

“Based on observed seismicity rates and geographical trends following major oil and gas plays with large amounts of produced water, the rates and trends in seismicity are very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process,” state seismologist Austin Holland and agency interim director Richard D. Andrews writes in a joint statement. Continue Reading

“Legislation Would Cut Oklahoma’s Property Tax Exemption for New Wind Power Plants”

Senate Bill 498, which eliminates a five-year property tax exemption for new wind energy projects, was approved by the Oklahoma House.

The version of the legislation approved on Thursday in the House has an effective date of Dec. 31, 2016. The Senate earlier passed a version of the bill with a Jan. 1, 2016, effective date. It now will consider the House version. Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, one of the authors of the bill, said the legislation is needed because Oklahoma tax incentives for the wind power industry have grown more rapidly than intended. In addition to the property tax exemption, tax credits are provided to wind power companies based on how much energy they produce. Together, these two economic development incentives are expected to grow to more than $100 million a year as the wind power industry continues to expand in Oklahoma, Mazzei said.

Read more at: newsok.com

The Murrah Bombing’s Role In Oklahoma City’s Downtown Renaissance

Bill Mihas, owner of Coney Island in downtown Oklahoma since the late 1970s.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Bill Mihas, owner of Coney Island in downtown Oklahoma since the late 1970s.

It’s been nearly 20 years since a bomb destroyed the Murrah building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more. As Oklahoma City prepares to look back on the bombing, one thing is clear — downtown OKC is a far different, and much better place than it was in April 1995. And it’s hard to deny the role the bombing played in the area’s resurgence.

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Turbine-Siting Bill Heads to Governor, Lawmakers and Wind Industry Near Deal on Tax Incentives

The Blue Canyon wind farm near Carnegie, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Blue Canyon wind farm near Carnegie, Okla.

State legislators and wind industry representatives are close to a deal that would end two tax incentives and preserve a third, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

Under the tentative agreement, a five-year property tax exemption for new wind farms would end after 2016, but a zero-emissions tax credit would remain in place. Another incentive that isn’t used much by wind developers, the investment tax credit, would end Jan. 1, 2017.

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“Fracking And Earthquakes In Middle America”

Host Tom Ashbrook interviewed seismologist Katie Kernan, New Yorker writer Rivka Galchen, who just wrote piece on the quake phenomenon, AJ Ferate of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, and Angela Spots of Stop Fracking Payne County.

Fracking And Earthquakes In Middle America The earthquakes of Oklahoma. There’s a sharp increase. Big oil, lots of water, pressure, fracking. We’ll look at what lies beneath. Until 2008, the state of Oklahoma averaged one or two earthquakes magnitude 3.0 or greater a year. Then the lid blew off those numbers.

Read more at: onpoint.wbur.org

Oil Billionaire Sought Meeting With OU President Boren on Oklahoma Quake Research as Far Back as 2011

The November 2013 meeting with University of Oklahoma President David Boren wasn’t oil billionaire Harold Hamm’s first attempt to discuss with university officials and a state seismologists Oklahoma’s earthquake surge and possible links to oil and gas activity, a new EnergyWire story reveals.

Using emails (click here for a .PDF) obtained through the Oklahoma Open Records Act, Mike Sorgahan reports that Continental Resources founder Hamm “sought as far back as 2011 to manage Oklahoma’s state-funded research into the links among hydraulic fracturing, oil production and earthquakes”:

Hamm sought a meeting with University of Oklahoma President David Boren in September 2011 after state seismologist Austin Holland, a university employee, wrote a report linking small earthquakes in south-central Oklahoma to fracking. According to emails obtained by EnergyWire through open records requests, Hamm wanted to discuss how Holland’s research on fracking might be perceived by the public. Continue Reading

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