A new U.S. Environment Protection Agency Report finds oil and gas production is releasing less methane into the atmosphere than previously thought, thanks to industry efforts.
Another activist from The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance briefly stopped work on the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Oklahoma on Thursday. Fitzgerald Scott held the project up for about an hour and a half, before firefighters removed him.
The Norman City Council on Tuesday approved a new economic incentive plan meant to attract businesses and jobs in an 8-1 vote.
It creates a seven member volunteer board that will make recommendations to the city’s economic development trust authority.
The authority can then offer “something as simple as streamlining the permit process all the way to helping businesses attain favorable loan structuring,” Assistant City Attorney Kathryn Walker told The Oklahoman’s Jane Glenn Cannon:
Companies wanting to take advantage of the incentives would have to submit proposals, and each proposal would be evaluated on its individual merits, she said.
A performance agreement would be required, with specific performance goals outlined. Penalties would be written into the agreement if performance goals are not met.
It’s already nearly impossible to raise taxes in Oklahoma. Now, the legislature is poised to ban raising fees for drivers’ licenses, state parks and other state services, too.
A bill placing a moratorium on fee increases through 2016 has passed both houses of the state legislature. If it becomes law, Oklahoma’s options for raising new revenues to pay for government services will be severely diminished.
House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, says the moratorium is necessary because Oklahoma has raised fees by more than $100 million since 2007. During the recession, it was the easiest way Oklahoma had to raise revenues to fill budget gaps. Increasing taxes in Oklahoma requires a three-fourths supermajority in both houses of the legislature, or a vote of the people.
The Society of Professional Journalists Oklahoma Professional Chapter hosted the 2013 version of its annual awards event on Saturday. StateImpact Oklahoma came away with a nice haul of plaques and certificates for our website and radio stories, including a sweep of the online writing category.
Tulsa’s water system is one of the largest in the state, and as StateImpact has reported, serves rural water districts and communities well beyond the city limits.
And it’s been lucky. The recent drought hasn’t been as severe for the Tulsa area, and it’s in the eastern half of the state, where most of the surface water is located.
While many cities and towns across the state face millions of dollars in repairs to crumbling pipelines and treatment plants, Tulsa’s water infrastructure has no major pressing needs.
Still, Tulsa has significant water problems. The culprit? A manpower shortage. As the Tulsa World’s Kevin Canfield reports:
Water Utilities Trust Chairman Pete White says the main concern revolves around the local wildlife. Lead shot lying on the ground could poison waterfowl, making them an easy target for other predators, contaminating them with lead as well.
Oklahoma City isn’t doing enough. That was one of the main takeaways from KOSU’s On Tap event last month that focused on water policy, drought, and conservation.
The Oklahoma City Council plans a public hearing Tuesday on measures requiring new lawn sprinkler systems to have shut-off valves and to raise fines on those who violate conservation orders.
Fines would range from $119 to $1,200 for repeat offenders.
The Water Utilities Trusts’ recommendations would be based around reservoir levels. Continue Reading
The American Wind Energy Association’s annual market report for 2012 is out, and U.S. wind power generation was up more than 25 percent, with Oklahoma coming in at No. 4. This despite uncertainty around whether a federal tax credit for wind energy production would be extended.
Oklahoma doesn’t like to raise taxes, and in 1992 voters passed a state question that required massive legislative majorities to do so.
But rising costs in the justice system still have to be paid for, somehow. Since then, the courts have turned to fees for funding more and more.
There’s a $50 fee for summary judgements, a $349 jury fee in civil cases, a $20 court reporter fee. If you get a DUI, there’s a $400 fee. In fact, the DUI fee is higher than the fee for a murder conviction, which is only about $100.
It’s the users of the court system, and more specifically the losers, who pay most of those fees, and many question the wisdom of that trend.