Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Logan Layden

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.

  • Email: loganlayden@ou.edu

EPA In the Crosshairs as Oklahoma’s Inhofe Gains Sway Over Climate Policy

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Inhofe at an impromptu news conference during climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

Andrew Revkin / Flickr

Oklahoma U.S. Senator James Inhofe at an impromptu news conference during climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.

The Republican wave that put the party back in full control of Congress also put Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe back in charge of the Senate committee that oversees the country’s environmental policies.

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Oklahoma Outcry Continues Against EPA’s ‘Waters of the United States’ Rule

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la vaca vegetariana / Flickr

Since the federal Clean Water Act first became law in 1972, there’s been confusion over which bodies of water qualify for protection under its provisions. Enter the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the U.S. rule, which means to bring clarity to the situation.

What it actually has done is cause a lot of controversy. The EPA and U.S Corps of Engineers are taking comment on the rule, and hearing a lot complaints from officials in Oklahoma. Attorney General Scott Pruitt was one of 11 state AGs who wrote a letter to the EPA and Corps in early October calling the scope of the federal government’s proposed rule “truly breathtaking.”

Now, Gov. Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Farm Bureau are submitting their letters of opposition. Continue Reading

Crumbling Infrastructure Causes Fluoride to Fade From Public Water Supplies

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indiawaterportal.org / Flickr

Testing water for fluoride.

The anti-fluoride movement is gaining steam in the U.S. And with celebrities like Ed Begley Jr. and Rob Schneider on board, how could it fail?

But the debate over whether fluoridation benefits communities’ dental health or amounts to the forced medication of the masses isn’t why Oklahoma towns like Lawton, Purcell, and Fairview stopped adding the chemical to their water. Continue Reading

Hunters Hopeful Wetter Summer Means More Wildlife In Oklahoma’s Woods

Jack Barrett, owner of the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Okla., shows off a new shotgun model popular with hunters.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jack Barrett, owner of the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Okla., shows off a new shotgun model popular with hunters.

Nearly a quarter of a million hunters are set to grab their guns and stalk through Oklahoma’s woods when deer gun season opens the week before Thanksgiving.

But years of drought have taken a toll on wildlife populations in Oklahoma, and the men and women who hunt and fish for them.

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StateImpact on OETA: The Last Weekend at Walnut Creek State Park

Walnut Creek State Park near Prue in Osage County closed for the season on Oct. 1, and might never open again. Walnut Creek is yet another victim of shrinking budgets and changing priorities at the state department of tourism that have meant the closure or transfer of numerous state parks over the last few years.

OETA photographer Tony D’Astoli joined StateImpact’s Logan Layden for Walnut Creek’s final weekend as a state park, and put a visible face on our radio report during The Oklahoma News Report Oct. 23. See above video. Continue Reading

Oklahoma’s New Normal: Water Forum Centers On Drought Adaptation

Robert Moore, general manager of the Marshall County Water Corporation, addresses a panel on local planning for future droughts at the 35th annual Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference in Oklahoma City Oct. 22.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Robert Moore, general manager of the Marshall County Water Corporation, addresses a panel on local planning for future droughts at the 35th annual Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference in Oklahoma City Oct. 22.

Drought — and how to deal with it — was the central theme of the annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference last week in Oklahoma City, where water experts and authorities discussed issues ranging from crop management to what Las Vegas can teach Oklahoma about water conservation.

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director J.D. Strong made the point again this year: The future looks like the past — hotter and drier — and no one should be surprised. Continue Reading

Eastern Oklahoma Coal Mining Comeback Stalls as Demand From China Falls

Steel Plant, Anshan, Liaoning, China, February 2009.

Sonya Song / Flickr

Steel Plant, Anshan, Liaoning, China, February 2009.

In May of last year, it looked like impoverished areas of eastern Oklahoma would be getting a lifeline. Coal mining, once a vital industry there, appeared to be headed for a comeback thanks to booming international demand.

Local residents were excited about the prospect of hundreds of new jobs when StateImpact first visited Heavener, but the mining project has stalled.

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“Oklahoma Water Officials Try To Keep Conservation Active”

All the recent wet weather could lead some to think water conservation isn’t as necessary as it was at the peak of the drought, but state water experts are working make conservation a higher priority in the minds of Oklahomans. That includes encouraging water reuse and making conservation a year-round proposition.


Oklahoma’s water supply is more than adequate to meet the state’s immediate needs, Oklahoma Water Resources Board executive director J.D. Strong told lawmakers Tuesday. That abundance can make it difficult to convince some water users of the importance of conserving water to prepare for a drier future, he said.

Read more at: newsok.com

Legislature Studies Red Cedar Threat and Creative Ways To Fight Its Spread

Homeowner Larry Huff holds a shard of Eastern Red Cedar, the handiwork of an Oklahoma County program that clears the flammable tree from private property.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Homeowner Larry Huff holds a shard of Eastern Red Cedar, the handiwork of an Oklahoma County program that clears the flammable tree from private property.

The eastern red cedar tree’s bad reputation for fueling wildfires, hogging water, and disrupting ecosystems in Oklahoma is drawing the attention of state lawmakers, but so are ways to put the tree to use, like to help fight cancer. Continue Reading

Three Reasons to Care That Oklahoma is No. 1 in Gypsum: Twinkies, Beer, Roads

Gypsum embedded in the landscape at Gloss Mountain State Park in Major County.

Chip Smith / Flickr

Gypsum embedded in the landscape at Gloss Mountain State Park in Major County.

Here’s what seems like a mundane factoid about the Sooner State: Oklahoma leads the nation in gypsum mining.

Mildly interesting, right? Actually, it’s fascinating, as The Oklahoman‘s Mike Coppock explains:

The next time you bite down on a Twinkie, know there is a good chance part of it was mined out of a mesa south of Little Sahara State Park.

The same goes for the beer you may order at Bricktown or the loaf of bread you buy at the grocery store.

Oklahoma not only leads the nation in gypsum mining, but gypsum in Oklahoma is so pure that it is used as a calcium additive for foods we take for granted and in common medications.

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