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.
A soggy April and a slow-moving storm system that dumped record rainfall has drenched Oklahoma’s drought. The rain is welcome, but officials and experts warn the relief could be fleeting.
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?
The Oklahoma House and Senate have advanced legislation to prevent cities, towns and counties from banning fracking and other oil and gas activities.
At least one of the bills will likely end up on the governor’s desk, but even in its unsigned, non-finalized form, the legislation is affecting local regulation.
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.
Lawmakers have filed several measures targeting Oklahoma’s wind industry during the 2015 legislative session. The bills most likely to end up on the governor’s desk add regulation — like preventing new wind farms from being built near hospitals, schools and airports — and reduce wind energy tax credits.
A booming U.S. oil industry has led to near-record amounts of oil production, which has helped drive down oil prices. The energy industry has responded by storing crude instead of selling it at discount rates. That has created a unique situation in Oklahoma, where a major oil storage hub is on track to fill up — completely.
As legislation written to prevent counties and municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas activities advances through the Oklahoma House and Senate, some city leaders and their advocates say the measures go too far and could have unintended consequences.
In Oklahoma, the natural beauty of Lee Creek — one of the state’s scenic rivers — is protected by state law. In Arkansas, Lee Creek is an important water source for fast-growing Fort Smith. Now, Fort Smith has a plan to turn Lee Creek into Oklahoma’s next lake, and reignite a dispute that was settled more than 20 years ago.
Five years of drought has strangled lakes and reservoirs in southwestern Oklahoma.
The city of Lawton is considering extraordinary means to help fill water supplies. City leaders hope a man with an airplane can manipulate the weather and bring more rain.