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 Right-to-Farm Legislation About More Than Agricultural Practices

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

KOMUnews / flickr

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

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.

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Growing Resistance to Legislation that Could Lead to Cross-state Water Transfers

A fisherman walks up a dry boat dock at Tom Steed Reservoir. The lake is only 24 percent full and supplies water for Altus and other cities nearby.

A fisherman walks up a dry boat dock at Tom Steed Reservoir. The lake is only 24 percent full and supplies water for Altus and other cities nearby.

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

“Lake Hefner Water Levels Take a Plunge”

Moving water from Canton Lake helped buoy Oklahoma City’s Lake Hefner in 2013. But water levels at Hefner are now at their lowest point since that withdrawal, and another would mean all but completely draining Canton.


Once again, water levels at lake Hefner are becoming a concern. As of Thursday morning, Lake Hefner was down 12 ½ feet, and running just over 47,000 acre feet. The lake is considered full at just over 75,000 acre feet. At the time, Lake Hefner is at 62 percent of capacity.

Read more at: www.koco.com

Oklahoma Part Of National Effort to Bring Battered Butterfly Population Back

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David Levinson / Flickr

Habitat loss and the use of herbicides to kill butterfly-preferred milkweed plants have caused the monarch butterfly population to drop by 90 percent over the last twenty years, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Now, the race is on to save the monarchs through the newly announced National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Monarch Conservation Fund, a partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

From The Oklahoman‘s Robert Medley:

The campaign aimed at saving the monarchs will use public and private funds to grow milkweed. The wildlife service has pledged $2 million in immediate funding for on-the-ground conservation projects across the nation, according to a news release.

In Oklahoma, efforts to create more monarch habitats will be focused along the Interstate 35 corridor.

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Oklahoma City Drought Problems A Microcosm Of the State’s Water Crisis

A grounded boat dock at Canton Lake, where Oklahoma City got billions of gallons of water in early 2013.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A grounded boat dock at Canton Lake, where Oklahoma City got billions of gallons of water in early 2013.

The latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor shows 98 percent of Oklahoma experiencing at least abnormally dry conditions. As has been the case for the past five years, the worst of the drought is being felt in western Oklahoma, while the abundant waters of the eastern half of the state remain relatively unscathed.

There’s a geographic divide in Oklahoma between those who have plenty of water and those who desperately need it. As State Sen. Josh Brecheen put in during an interview with StateImpact Feb. 9: Continue Reading

Budget Cuts Might Mean More State Park Closures in 2015

The word 'state' has been removed from Brushy Lake Park's entrance sign. The park, near Sallisaw, Okla., was transferred to the city's control in 2011.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The word 'state' has been removed from Brushy Lake Park's entrance sign. The park, near Sallisaw, Okla., was transferred to the city's control in 2011.

Oklahoma is facing a budget hole of more than $600 million dollars. And what looked like state agency cuts of 6.2 percent earlier this month, could double to around 12 percent to fill the gap.

To deal with the cut, the Tourism and Recreation Department is considering state park closures, and it wouldn’t be the first time. Continue Reading

2015 Water Legislation Divides Oklahoma Politicians by Geography, Not Party

State Senator Eddie Fields' bill would create water planning districts that mirror the OWRB's membership districts.

State of Oklahoma

State Senator Eddie Fields' bill would create water planning districts that mirror the OWRB's membership districts.

After 5 years of drought, Oklahoma’s dwindling water resources have the attention of state lawmakers. There are competing bills to study moving water from southeast Oklahoma to the Altus area, and to encourage self-sufficient, regionally based plans to meet future water needs.

Balancing the interests of Oklahomans who have plenty of water with those who desperately need it is a political fight, but not between Republicans and Democrats.

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Watch Oklahoma’s Inhofe and Pruitt Spar With EPA Over ‘Waters of the U.S.’ Rule

A rare joint Congressional hearing in Washington Wednesday took up the issue of “Waters of the United States,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to more clearly define which bodies of water qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act.

Republicans at the hearing — including Oklahoma’s senior senator and state attorney general — are convinced the move is a vast overreach of the EPA’s power that will place everything from ditches to farm ponds under government control.

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Litigation and Low Prices Drill Oil Industry in Osage County

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Esteban Monclova / Flickr

After dipping to its lowest level in years, the price of oil may have bottomed out. Reuters reports prices rose again on Tuesday behind expectations of diminished oil supplies. That will come as welcome news, if little consolation, for oil-field service companies in Osage County hard hit by the recent downturn in the industry.

The Journal Record‘s D. Ray Tuttle was at an Osage Producers Association meeting January 31 where “businesspeople and local, state and federal officials met … to hear about the effects of the downturn” and how an ongoing lawsuit against the producers is making a bad situation worse. Continue Reading

Why Oklahoma Ranchers Are Getting More Federal Drought Aid Than Any Other State

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AgriLife Today / Flickr

Since the current drought in western Oklahoma began, ranchers have collected more than $800 million in federal drought relief payments that aid livestock producers. That’s more than any other state, including California and Texas, which have larger cattle industries, The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports.

Here’s why:

[USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey] said the difference is likely due to the fact that Oklahoma’s drought has been less widespread but longer-lasting than California’s. While western Oklahoma has been withering under drought since late 2010, the worst conditions didn’t strike California until 2013, he said. Continue Reading

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