Fracking Site Operator Faces Contempt Complaint After Acid Spill

Crews work to contain and clean up 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid that spilled near a hydraulic fracturing site near Hennessey, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Crews work to contain and clean up 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid that spilled near a hydraulic fracturing site near Hennessey, Okla.

Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator filed a contempt complaint this week against the company overseeing a hydraulic fracturing operation in an oil field where 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled.

The spill could be the state’s largest related to fracking, says Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner.

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Flaming Waterways and Death Threats: The History of Oklahoma’s Scenic Rivers

A group of Tulsa bartenders prepare for a day on the Illinois River at Diamondhead Resort near Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of Tulsa bartenders prepare for a day on the Illinois River at Diamondhead Resort near Tahlequah, Okla.

This is part one of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. 

Even though it’s a Monday morning, rowdy Tulsans pile into a bus at Diamondhead Resort and rumble toward the nearest access point into the Illinois River.

“If you have a good group of people and enough alcohol you can make anything fun,” one floater tells StateImpact.

They head off to enjoy a booze-soaked afternoon on the water, oblivious to the decades of effort it took to keep this water clear and the river flowing.

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Oklahoma’s Largest Utility Prepares To Comply With EPA, Pass Costs to Customers

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric has put up staunch resistance to new federally mandated air pollution rules, joining Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt in taking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to court over the regional haze and mercury and air toxics rules.

OG&E was ultimately unsuccessful in those challenges, and now, the time to start complying with the regulations has come. And as the utility has been warning for years, complying with new EPA rules will mean higher electricity bills for customers.

As The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports, on August 6, Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. “filed an application to recover $1.1 billion from ratepayers to pay for environmental compliance and the replacement of its aging Mustang natural gas plant.” Continue Reading

“Continental Resources Builds Two Water Recycling Centers”

The facilities will be located in Garvin and Stephens counties to take water from the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, or SCOOP. The company spent $25 million on the two centers and expects they will pay for themselves in three years, NewsOK reports.


“Ultimately, we’re running a business,” he said. “We wish we could be recycling in every area we get into. But the reality is that often it doesn’t make economic sense. It will seldom make any economic sense unless it is in an area where we are drilling multiple wells per section.” The new recycling facilities include storage tanks where residual oil is removed and a large, lined pit, where the water is further cleaned and processed over about seven days.

Read more at: newsok.com

Woman Injured in 2011 Earthquake Suing Disposal Well Operators

Seismologists say oil and natural gas disposal wells, like this one near Sparks, Okla., are likely triggering earthquakes in Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A disposal well near Prague, Okla.

The 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck near Prague, Okla., in November 2011 toppled Sandra Ladra’s chimney, raining rocks “on her lap and legs.”

Ladra on Aug. 4 filed a lawsuit against energy companies that operate disposal wells she claims caused the quake. She is seeking $75,000 in actual damages plus punitive damages, the Journal Record‘s D. Ray Tuttle reports.

Ladra alleges that injection wells operated by Cleveland-based Spess Oil Co., Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC and 25 other companies not yet named led to the earthquakes that damaged her home and injured her.

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Third Salt Fork River Fish-Kill in Three Years Fits Mysterious Pattern

For the third year in a row, a large-scale fish-kill has been reported on the Salt Fork River in north-central Oklahoma.

“Hundreds and maybe thousands” of catfish, carp, buffalo and other bottom-feeding fish were likely killed, says Skylar McElhaney, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.

The cause of these fish-kills is mysterious, but a pattern is emerging. Continue Reading

Oklahoma State Parks Director Says State Parks ‘Not on the List’ of Core Services

Shaun Pelkey and his daughter Ireland Pelkey enjoy the afternoon at one of Walnut Creek State Park's beaches on Keystone Lake.

Logan Layden / StateImpactOklahoma

Shaun Pelkey and his daughter Ireland Pelkey enjoy the afternoon at one of Walnut Creek State Park's beaches on Keystone Lake.

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.

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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Sues EPA Over Federal Clean Power Plan

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

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.

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Mapped: Which Oklahoma Counties are Crossed by Trainloads of Bakken Crude Oil

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

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