Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People
Joe Wertz is multi-platform reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma. He has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.
The 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck near Prague, Okla., in November 2011 toppled Sandra Ladra’s chimney, raining rocks “on her lap and legs.”
Ladra on Aug. 4 filed a lawsuit against energy companies that operate disposal wells she claims caused the quake. She is seeking $75,000 in actual damages plus punitive damages, the Journal Record‘s D. Ray Tuttle reports.
Ladra alleges that injection wells operated by Cleveland-based Spess Oil Co., Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC and 25 other companies not yet named led to the earthquakes that damaged her home and injured her.
Trains carrying 1 million or more gallons of crude oil from the Bakken formation are expected to cross 20 Oklahoma counties each week, data from the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission show.
At a July technical conference sponsored by the Oklahoma City Geological Society, Glen Brown, vice president of geology at Continental Resources Inc,” said global shifts in the Earth’s tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma.”
Brown said global shifts in the Earth’s tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma. Three of six of the world’s largest earthquakes happened in the 1950s and 1960s. Oklahoma had an earthquake swarm around that time in the 1950s, including the state’s second-largest quake, a 5.5 magnitude in El Reno in 1952.
State Sen. Jerry Ellis on Monday suggested that a federal task force be formed to develop a statewide earthquake “emergency action plan.”
The task force would be charged with examining and evaluating scientific studies related to Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm, which a growing chorus of scientists say is likely linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, and make recommendations on possible solutions, according to a press release from the House Democratic Caucus. Continue Reading →
Nearly 500 barrels of acid spilled in an alfalfa field Monday morning. The chemical HCL is used for fracking operations. There’s concern heavy rain will push the runoff into nearby Turkey Creek, which flows into Hennessey’s water system. The Corporation Commission is overseeing the cleanup of the acid spill just south of town. Their top priority is keeping the powerful chemical from getting into the water.
Officials found several dead birds in this open saltwater tank at an oilfield site in northwest Oklahoma.
Federal authorities have joined state officials in an investigation of bird deaths at a neglected oil field site in northwestern Oklahoma.
Two oil-covered barn owls were found along with several other dead birds. The owls were taken in by a Fairview caretaker licensed to handle non-migratory birds, but both owls later died, the Enid News & Eagle and Associated Press report. Continue Reading →
Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, leaves a courtroom at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.
The State Supreme Court on July 29 heard a lawsuit and constitutional challenge to House Bill 2562, a measure that would change the effective state tax rate levied on oil and gas production.
Both parties agreed that the measure was written to reduce taxes, but is HB 2562 a “revenue bill?” That definition is important because this court battle isn’t about policy, it’s about procedure.
A lawsuit over recently signed legislation that changes state oil and gas tax rates will be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court today, a constitutional challenge that could have broad impact on industry and legislative procedure.
I broke down the lawsuit on an Oklahoma News Report segment with OETA’s Dick Pryor, which you can watch above. But here are five things you need to know about today’s hearing, which could hinge on legal subtleties and word interpretations. Continue Reading →
The discovery of two barn oils coated in oil has prompted an investigation of a “neglected” oil field site in northwest Oklahoma.
One of the owls died, the Enid News & Eagle reported on July 25. The surviving bird is eating, walking and climbing and is being monitored by Jean Neal, a Fairview caretaker “licensed to handle small non-migratory animals.”
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission and state Department of Wildlife Conservation are investigating a site near the Major and Garfield County lines. Inspectors found several other dead birds floating in a saltwater tank at the site, the paper reports:
A preliminary report, compiled by an Oklahoma Corporation Commission oil and gas field inspector, noted there was oil on the ground around the tank and in several other areas inside the dike. Rig anchors were not marked, and there were no Oklahoma Tax Commission numbers on the storage tanks or the meter house, the report stated.