Duncan Left Wanting After State Drought Assistance For Water Project Falls Through

20142803-DuncanDrought

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Duncan, Oklahoma has taken some of the worst of the drought these past five years. Stage 5 water rationing is in effect, which means — with few exceptions — a ban on all outside watering.

One option the city was looking at to relieve its drought disaster was to pump water from nearby Clear Creek Lake, but as The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports, funding from that project will have to come from somewhere other than the Oklahoma Water Resources Board: Continue Reading

‘Right-to-Farm’ Inches Closer to Ballot After Breezing Through Oklahoma House

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.

A bill that would allow voters to decide if the state Constitution should be changed to guarantee “the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices” passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives without debate Thursday.

It now heads to the Senate, where it’s also expected to meet widespread support.

Right-to-farm is a controversial national issue that barely passed in Missouri in November 2014. The effort pits agricultural interests against, specifically, the Humane Society of the United States, which House Joint Resolution 1012‘s author, Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, mentioned when introducing his bill on the House floor: Continue Reading

Why Oklahoma’s Newest Lake Might be Built by Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith Public Utilities Director Steve Parke.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Fort Smith Public Utilities Director Steve Parke.

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.

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Lawton to Dredge Waurika Lake in Latest Attempt to Combat Drought

The dry boat ramp at the Chisholm Trail Ridge Campground on the eastern shore of Waurika Lake.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The dry boat ramp at the Chisholm Trail Ridge Campground on the eastern shore of Waurika Lake in Jan. 2015.

Lawton is pulling out all the stops in its battle with the ongoing drought in western Oklahoma. Last week, StateImpact reported on the city’s plan to create more rain through cloud-seeding. Now Lawton is moving forward with a project to dredge built up silt from the bottom of Waurika Lake that’s clogging pumps and making what little water is left in the lake harder to access. Continue Reading

“Hamm Defends 2013 Meeting With Okla. Seismologist and OU President”

Continental Resources Chairman and founder Harold Hamm says his 2013 meeting with Okahoma’s state seismologist and University of Oklahoma President David Boren was to get information, not to pressure scientists to change findings related to earthquakes, EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports.

“The insinuation that there was something untoward that occurred in meetings with Austin Holland is both offensive and inaccurate,” Hamm said in an email sent to The Oklahoman newspaper Friday. “Austin works for a state agency. Upon its founding, the Oklahoma Geological Survey had a solid reputation of an agency that was accessible and of service to the community and industry in Oklahoma. We hope that the agency can continue the legacy to provide this service.” At the time of the November 2013 meeting, Holland’s agency had joined the U.S. Geological Survey in saying that oil and gas activity might be a “contributing factor” in the swarm of quakes. In the months after those meetings, OGS returned to its previous position rejecting links between earthquakes and oil and gas activity.

Read more at: www.eenews.net

Amended Bill Would Prohibit Cities and Towns from ‘Effectively’ Banning Oil and Gas Activities

Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.

A proposed amendment to legislation limiting the power local governments have to regulate oil and gas operations expands the bill’s language to prevent cities and towns from enacting rules “effectively” banning drilling, fracking and related activities.

House Bill 2178 was authored by Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, who also wrote the amendment. I’ve highlighted the proposed changes below: Continue Reading

Study: ‘Reawakened’ Oklahoma Faults Could Produce Larger Earthquakes

Click here to read a .pdf of the study, "Earthquake hypocenters and focal mechanisms in central Oklahoma reveal a complex system of reactivated subsurface strike-slip faulting."

Geophysical Research Letters

Click here to read a .pdf of the study, "Earthquake hypocenters and focal mechanisms in central Oklahoma reveal a complex system of reactivated subsurface strike-slip faulting."

The faults responsible for thousands of earthquakes in Oklahoma are capable of producing larger earthquakes, according to a new study.

These “reactivated” faults were formed roughly 300 million years ago and are well known for creating underground structures that “trap” oil and natural gas, the U.S. Geological Survey wrote in a statement about the new research.

A primary reason for reactivation is the northeast or northwest orientation of the faults relative to the east to west direction of regional tectonic stress in earth’s upper crust, which increases the probability of a future, larger earthquake.

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New Severance Tax on Limestone Miners Passes Oklahoma House

An active aggregate mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

An active aggregate mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.

South-central Oklahoma — where the sensitive Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer provides water for thousands of Oklahomans — is home to some of the highest quality limestone in the country, and the ground holds vast supplies of the silica sand used by the oil and gas industry in the hydraulic fracturing process.

For years, south-central Oklahoma lawmakers have been pushing for a severance tax on the limestone and sand mined out of the aquifer, which many residents say is damaging the Arbuckle-Simpson and threatening the future of communities in the area. On Tuesday, a severance tax bill passed the state House by a vote of 60-35. Continue Reading

Lawton Turns to Weather Manipulation to Aid Drought-Stricken City Water Supplies

A Lockheed WC-130B used by U.S. government researchers Stormfury, a cloud seeding research project focused on reducing the strength of hurricanes.

NOAA

A Lockheed WC-130B used by U.S. government researchers Stormfury, a cloud seeding research project focused on reducing the strength of hurricanes.

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.

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