State tourism officials are considering closing or transferring four more state parks. The agency, like many, has had its budget cut over the past four years, but the decision to defund state parks is about more than money.
When StateImpact reported on President Barack Obama’s proposal to cut carbon emissions 30 percent nationally by 2030, mainly through less reliance on coal-fired power plants, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s reaction made it clear a lawsuit was coming.
On Tuesday, it became official. Oklahoma joined West Virginia — which is leading the case — and 10 other states to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
From The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies:
The attorneys general —11 Republicans and one Democrat — contend the agency doesn’t have the legal authority to issue the proposed rules under Section 11(d) of the Clean Air Act. They said the proposed rules are in conflict with a 2011 settlement the EPA signed with some other states after a lawsuit brought by several environmental groups.
Pruitt said the 2011 settlement said the EPA would use another section of the Clean Air Act to regulate emissions from power plants and stationary sources.
Source: Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission
Trains carrying 1 million or more gallons of crude oil from the Bakken formation are expected to cross 20 Oklahoma counties each week, data from the Oklahoma Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Commission show.
Explosive, deadly derailments and fiery accidents have raised safety concerns about rail transport of Bakken crude oil, which tests suggest might be more flammable and explosive than other types of crude oil. Continue Reading
At a July technical conference sponsored by the Oklahoma City Geological Society, Glen Brown, vice president of geology at Continental Resources Inc,” said global shifts in the Earth’s tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma.”
State Sen. Jerry Ellis on Monday suggested that a federal task force be formed to develop a statewide earthquake “emergency action plan.”
The task force would be charged with examining and evaluating scientific studies related to Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm, which a growing chorus of scientists say is likely linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, and make recommendations on possible solutions, according to a press release from the House Democratic Caucus. Continue Reading
Despite more than 80 percent of the state still being under some level of drought, recent wet weather and below average temperatures continue to reduce the severity and size of drought in Oklahoma.
As The Oklahoman‘s Graham Lee Brewer Reports, this week’s rainfall “bookended one of the wettest July’s on record for the state, with some areas receiving more than seven inches of rain.”
Including data reported just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, the statewide Oklahoma Mesonet rainfall average of rate past 30 days was 3.89 inches — 1.11 inches above normal.
That number equates to the 22nd-wettest such period dating to 1921, state climatologist Gary McManus said.
Corporation Commission officials say this may be the “biggest spill from fracking” the agency has ever handled.
Federal authorities have joined state officials in an investigation of bird deaths at a neglected oil field site in northwestern Oklahoma.
Two oil-covered barn owls were found along with several other dead birds. The owls were taken in by a Fairview caretaker licensed to handle non-migratory birds, but both owls later died, the Enid News & Eagle and Associated Press report. Continue Reading
The State Supreme Court on July 29 heard a lawsuit and constitutional challenge to House Bill 2562, a measure that would change the effective state tax rate levied on oil and gas production.
Both parties agreed that the measure was written to reduce taxes, but is HB 2562 a “revenue bill?” That definition is important because this court battle isn’t about policy, it’s about procedure.Continue Reading
A lawsuit over recently signed legislation that changes state oil and gas tax rates will be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court today, a constitutional challenge that could have broad impact on industry and legislative procedure.
I broke down the lawsuit on an Oklahoma News Report segment with OETA’s Dick Pryor, which you can watch above. But here are five things you need to know about today’s hearing, which could hinge on legal subtleties and word interpretations. Continue Reading