Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed Senate Bill 1456, a measure that would allow regulated electric utilities to charge customers who generate electricity from rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.
The city’s utilities department received a number of calls from concerned residents after the paper reported that Texas-based drilling company Finley Resources had tapped a fire hydrant and was using drinking water to drill a well. Mayor Cindy Rosenthal has also asked city officials to look into the practice, the paper reports.
A legislative measure that would allow electricity utilities to charge higher rates to customers who generate electricity with small solar installations or wind turbines has passed an Oklahoma House committee and now awaits Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature.
Senate Bill 1456, authored by Sen. A.J. Griffin, R-Guthrie and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Edmond, drew opposition from environmental groups and solar advocates. Existing generators like Herb Hill from Crescent, Okla., are exempt from the bill. But, if signed, the measure could impact future Herb Hills, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:
… the 85-year-old utility company retiree has 36 solar panels and a 100-foot-tall wind turbine. He also has a propane-powered emergency generator to back up the electricity from his local electric cooperative. Continue Reading
In case you missed it, a great piece on a five-state plan to preserve the Lesser Prairie Chicken and the political and cultural impact of the U.S. government’s decision to formally list the species as “threatened.”
The Society of Professional Journalists on Wednesday honored reporters at StateImpact Oklahoma, KGOU and KOSU radio with its national Sigma Delta Chi award for collaborative breaking news coverage of the May 20, 2013 tornado. Continue Reading
As earthquakes continue to shake the state and researchers study links to drilling, Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator has changed the way it approves permits for injection wells.
About 1,000 representatives from Oklahoma’s oil industry touted their economic impact — “2 million royalty owners, 31,000 companies and almost 400,000 workers” — and encouraged lawmakers to keep the lower, incentivized tax rates many energy companies have been paying.
An “unlikely” coalition of environmentalists, solar advocates and conservative groups are opposing a bill that would allow electric utilities to levy a surcharge on customers who install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.
The bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Mike Turner, R-Edmond, has drawn the ire of an Arizona solar group called TUSK, which has fought utilities in that state and others over what they say are unnecessary barriers against rooftop solar. TUSK released a YouTube video on Tuesday deriding Turner’s support of the bill, which is backed by the major electric utilities in Oklahoma. (Turner’s office did not return a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.) The group also is distributing a letter to Oklahoma lawmakers from Barry Goldwater Jr., a former congressman and son of conservative icon Barry Goldwater. The younger Goldwater is co-chairman of TUSK.
A new poll shows 64 percent of Oklahoma voters oppose state tax incentives for horizontal drilling and support eliminating the incentive to pay for other government services.
Oklahoma levies a 7 percent tax on oil and gas production, but the horizontal drilling incentive lowers the rate to 1 percent for the first 48 months of production. The incentive expires in 2015, and some Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing to make the reduced rate permanent.
The poll, commissioned by the the Oklahoma Policy Institute, a left-leaning think-tank that has argued for eliminating the tax incentive and against cutting severance taxes on oil and gas production, showed 64 percent support eliminating the tax incentive to provide more funding for education, public safety, highways and “other state needs.”
Only 7 percent of those surveyed supported eliminating the incentives to help offset a cut to the top income tax rate, OK Policy’s survey data show.
Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed said they support the horizontal drilling tax incentive, and 21 percent said Oklahoma should keep the incentive. Continue Reading
New projects and infrastructure upgrades fueled record wind-energy production on the regional grids that serve Oklahoma and Texas.