In 2011, blue-green algae blooms caused the Grand River Dam Authority to warn the public to avoid bodily contact with the water in northeast Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. So last year, few questioned the decision to keep the Bernice Area beach closed for five months after an algae outbreak there. As the Tulsa World‘s Randy Krehbiel reports “it began with goose poop:” Continue Reading
Duncan, Oklahoma has taken some of the worst of the drought these past five years. Stage 5 water rationing is in effect, which means — with few exceptions — a ban on all outside watering.
One option the city was looking at to relieve its drought disaster was to pump water from nearby Clear Creek Lake, but as The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports, funding from that project will have to come from somewhere other than the Oklahoma Water Resources Board: Continue Reading
A bill that would allow voters to decide if the state Constitution should be changed to guarantee “the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices” passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives without debate Thursday.
It now heads to the Senate, where it’s also expected to meet widespread support.
Right-to-farm is a controversial national issue that barely passed in Missouri in November 2014. The effort pits agricultural interests against, specifically, the Humane Society of the United States, which House Joint Resolution 1012‘s author, Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, mentioned when introducing his bill on the House floor: Continue Reading
In Oklahoma, the natural beauty of Lee Creek — one of the state’s scenic rivers — is protected by state law. In Arkansas, Lee Creek is an important water source for fast-growing Fort Smith. Now, Fort Smith has a plan to turn Lee Creek into Oklahoma’s next lake, and reignite a dispute that was settled more than 20 years ago.
Lawton is pulling out all the stops in its battle with the ongoing drought in western Oklahoma. Last week, StateImpact reported on the city’s plan to create more rain through cloud-seeding. Now Lawton is moving forward with a project to dredge built up silt from the bottom of Waurika Lake that’s clogging pumps and making what little water is left in the lake harder to access. Continue Reading
South-central Oklahoma — where the sensitive Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer provides water for thousands of Oklahomans — is home to some of the highest quality limestone in the country, and the ground holds vast supplies of the silica sand used by the oil and gas industry in the hydraulic fracturing process.
For years, south-central Oklahoma lawmakers have been pushing for a severance tax on the limestone and sand mined out of the aquifer, which many residents say is damaging the Arbuckle-Simpson and threatening the future of communities in the area. On Tuesday, a severance tax bill passed the state House by a vote of 60-35. Continue Reading
Oklahoma Gas and Electric — the state’s largest utility — and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt fought the EPA’s new Clean Air Act regulations for years before being left with no choice but to comply.
Now, after being beaten back in court, OG&E is asking the state Corporation Commission for permission to increase customer electricity rates so it has the money it says is needed to convert coal-fired units at its Muskogee Plant to natural gas, and install air scrubbers at its Sooner Plant. Continue Reading
Oklahoma’s 2012 Water for 2060 Act set a goal of not using more water in 2060 than the state used in 2012. To that end, grants are available to communities that want to implement drought mitigation or conservation measures that save water.
Oklahoma voters have at least a year before seeing ads for and against state questions on the ballot in November 2016. But you might want to get used to hearing this phrase now: right-to-farm.
It’s a divisive national issue that’s made its way to the Sooner State, one that puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights advocates.
A bill to study the possibility of moving water from eastern Oklahoma — where it’s abundant — to western Oklahoma — which has been suffering under half a decade of drought — has residents in the east worried about what transferring water out of their area would mean for their own water supply and the tourism so many communities there rely on. Continue Reading