May 2015 already ranks as one of the wettest in state history, and continues to snuff out the four-year drought that dried up cities in southwest Oklahoma. Water rationing helped keep Duncan, Lawton and Altus afloat, but those cities are now scaling back their water-saving mandates.
Before the consistent, heavy rains over the past week, Waurika Lake — the main source of water for Lawton and Duncan — was on the very brink of drying up too much to be used. Years of punishing drought led to the crisis, but what a difference a few days can make. Continue Reading
The right-to-farm bill survived Oklahoma’s legislative process last week. That means voters will have a chance to decide next year whether to give farmers and ranchers broad protections against future state laws that might interfere with their operations.
But opponents say right-to-farm is a license that allows big ag to harm animals and the environment. But where do actual Oklahoma farmers and ranchers stand on the issue?
Les Stockton / Flickr
Significant relief from the four-plus year drought has finally arrived in southwest Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Climatological Society reports this April was the 17th wettest on record, and the second wettest in history for the west-central part of the state. Continue Reading
With concern over drought at a high point and plans to get water from southeast Oklahoma falling through, the City of Norman decided in 2014 to pursue a plan to clean water that has been used by customers and return it to Lake Thunderbird — the city’s main water source — to be used again.
There’s a growing trend toward wastewater reuse to combat drought and conserve water sources for the future, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of drinking what is, in essence, retreated toilet water. And Norman isn’t the only city that relies on Lake Thunderbird for its drinking water. Continue Reading
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.
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.
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.
If passed by the Oklahoma legislature, the right-to-farm amendment to the state constitution wouldn’t appear on the ballot until November 2016. But the Humane Society of the United States is trying to kill the controversial issue in its crib. Continue Reading
Moving water from where it’s plentiful to where it’s needed seems like a logical way to meet all Oklahomans’ future water needs. But water transfers are complicated, and not just because they’re expensive — but because communities with lots of water want to keep it. Nothing illustrates this tension/challenge/whatever better than Sardis Lake.