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

Oklahoma Attacks EPA as Federal Agency Finalizes ‘Waters of the U.S’ Rule

Oklahoma farmer Mason Bolay worries the streambeds and ponds on his family's land will now be regulated by the federal government.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma farmer Mason Bolay worries the streambeds and ponds on his family's land will now be regulated by the federal government.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States Rule — also known as the Clean Water Rule — attempts to clarify which bodies of water qualify for federal protection — which ones are streams, which ones are tributaries, whether pollution dumped into one stream will trickle into another — that sort of thing.

But what the EPA says is nothing more than a tweak to current rules that farmers won’t event notice, opponents say is a vast federal government overreach that will extend to every pond and ditch in the country. Continue Reading

Southwest Oklahoma Cities Wrestle With How To Ration Water Amid Plenty

Craig Nance, owner of Nance Landscaping in Altus, Okla. says he hasn't done a landscaping job in Altus in three or four years because of the drought.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Craig Nance, owner of Nance Landscaping in Altus, Okla. says he hasn't done a landscaping job in Altus in three or four years because of the drought.

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.

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Waurika Lake Gets New Life as Desperately Needed Rain Finally Falls

As is evidenced by this photo from January, Waurika Lake was dangerously low before the recent rains.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

As is evidenced by this photo from January, Waurika Lake was dangerously low before the recent rains.

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

What Oklahoma Farmers Think About The Right-to-Farm Issue In Oklahoma

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.

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?

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Why Midwest City Might Fight Norman’s Plan to Recycle Treated Wastewater

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske

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

“Bill Giving Oklahoma Attorney General Say In Clean Power Plan Response Passes House”

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.


Echols warned his House colleagues that voting against the bill would be an endorsement of the EPA’s plan, which he called an overreach from a “rogue agency.”

“This vote will decide where you stand on EPA overreach,” Echols said.

Rep. Emily Virgin, D-Norman, questioned why the bill was needed when Pruitt already has been active in fighting other EPA rules.

“Why do we need this extra step, this extra way for him to challenge this?” Virgin said.

Read more at: newsok.com

Update: What StateImpact Is Watching In Oklahoma’s 2015 Legislative Session

20150424-Capitol001_WEB

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.

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The Murrah Bombing’s Role In Oklahoma City’s Downtown Renaissance

Bill Mihas, owner of Coney Island in downtown Oklahoma since the late 1970s.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Bill Mihas, owner of Coney Island in downtown Oklahoma since the late 1970s.

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.

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