Logan Layden is a native of McAlester, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 and spent three years as a state capitol reporter and local host of All Things Considered for NPR member station KGOU in Norman.
Propane customer Shawn Davies vowed not to refill his tank until priced drop significantly.
The 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane to heat their homes know the routine: When the weather is warm, propane is cheap. When it gets cold, and demand goes up, so does the price.
But what happened this winter is unprecedented. Propane prices are starting to ease after blowing past all-time records in January, reaching a national average of more than $4 a gallon.
There are many reasons the price of propane jumped so high so fast, but it all starts in Japan three years ago, when an earthquake triggered the tsunami that caused the disaster at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
The Oklahoma Geological Survey — which monitors seismic activity in the state — continues to acknowledged in a Feb. 17 position statement that “both fluid injection and withdrawal in the subsurface can trigger earthquakes,” but stopped short of blaming the oil and gas industry for increased temblors in recent years.
The vast majority of Oklahoma quakes happen within a few miles of injection wells, but the statement throws some cold water on a connection between the two.
About 80% of the State is within 15 kilometers (9 miles) of an Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II water disposal or enhanced oil recovery injection well. For this reason, identifying possible induced or triggered seismicity requires more scientific evidence than simply identifying spatial correlations. It is also important to note that about 99% of the earthquakes that have occurred in Oklahoma over the past few years also lie within 9 miles of a UIC Class II well.
The results of lawsuits between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups like Wild Earth Guardians can have a direct effect on policies and prices at the state level, so state Attorney General Scott Pruitt wants a stronger say.
A federal judge said Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt can intervene in the settlement of a lawsuit between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and an environmental group over emission standards in Oklahoma and other states.
This has been a tough winter for the more than 400,000 Oklahomans who rely on propane for heat and fuel, with prices spiking to an average of more than $4 per gallon in late January.
Propane has never been so expensive, and there are several reasons why: A wetter than normal corn crop (propane is used to power corn dryers), the shutdown of a major propane pipeline for maintenance, and cold winter that has produced one giant storm after another.
But, as The Oklahoman‘s Jay R. Marks reports, that last reason for such pricey propane won’t be a problem much longer:
Oklahoma may have weathered the cold weather-fueled storm that caused propane prices to skyrocket.
Prices have dropped about 50 percent since late January at the storage hubs in Kansas and Texas that serve Oklahoma, said Richard Hess, executive director of the Oklahoma Propane Gas Association.
Hess said it will take some time for lower prices to trickle down to the retail level, as retailers replace their supplies.
When Gov. Mary Fallin and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in January agreed a north Texas water district could take water out of the Red River using a pump station in Oklahoma, they avoided what could’ve been a long legal battle over the exact location of the state’s southern boundary.
And why not? Texas had been using the pump for years — with both sides assuming it was in the Lone Star State — until new maps showed the pump station was technically in Oklahoma.
Suddenly, the imaginary line separating the states wasn’t so clear.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Gov. Mary Fallin says almost 4,000 low-income Oklahomans who use propane as the primary source of fuel to heat their homes have received financial assistance since the governor ordered the Department of Human Services to give them priority status.
Public Service Company of Oklahoma — which provides electricity to more than a half-million Oklahomans — can move ahead with plans to retire its coal-fired power plants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.
The agreement between the utility, state, and EPA is expected to bring PSO into compliance with regional haze regulations, the federal government’s effort to clear the air at national parks and wildlife refuges.
PSO’s plan for regional haze calls for it to retire one coal unit at Northeastern by 2016. It would install some emissions-control equipment on another coal unit before retiring it by 2026. To make up for the loss of the coal-fired unit in 2016, PSO will buy natural gas generation from Calpine Corp. under a 15-year power purchase agreement.
The utility also recently signed three 20-year contracts for a total of 600 megawatts of wind power from wind farms to be built in northwestern Oklahoma and the Panhandle by 2016.
Saturday’s 4.1-magnitude quake caused a few cracks at the Logan County Jail. Oklahoma is experiencing a dramatic increase in earthquakes, which many scientists say is likely connected to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry.
The Logan County Sheriff’s Office said Sunday that the earthquake caused several cracks in the walls of the jail in Guthrie — but that no injuries are reported and that inmates were not moved and remain at the jail.
From Al Jazeera English's photo series on drought in Oklahoma.
Drought and agriculture don’t mix very well. So after three years of intense drought, you might expect rural western Oklahoma communities — where fortunes have traditionally hinged on the condition of wheat crops — to be dying on the vine.
But no. As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, many of these towns are adapting to a new economy with a little help from the oil and gas industry.
Elk City Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Director Jim Mason said his community has blossomed as it’s moved from agriculture to petroleum…
“The local grain elevator has closed down and our cotton gin is now gone. A lot of our agriculturally related businesses do seem off,” he said. “Drought has had a big impact, but it hasn’t devastated us.”
Propane prices fell slightly this week, from a record high of more than $4 last week. But many of the 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane for home heating and cooking need more relief than that.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services began taking applications for the Energy Crisis Assistance Program on Tuesday, after the federal government released an additional $4 million for Oklahoma.