Speeking Wednesday to the Tulsa Rotary Club, co-founder and executive chairman of Devon Energy Larry Nichols acknowledged injecting drilling wastewater “into a fault zone could cause an earthquake to happen sooner.”
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirmed Monday that he has worked with the energy industry to push back against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda, but denied how The New York Times characterized those efforts, which were detailed in a story published over the weekend.
Pruitt’s alliance with energy companies isn’t a secret at all, basically. The Oklahoman‘s Randy Ellis reports:
Gov. Mary Fallin in April 2014 signed into law a measure designed to gradually lower Oklahoma’s top income tax rate to 4.85 percent from 5.25 percent.
But those income tax cuts only go into effect if Oklahoma’s revenues rise, and the slumping price of crude oil — $63.57 per barrel of West Texas Intermediate at the time of this posting — could block the tax-cut trigger, The Oklahoman‘s Rick Green reports:
Collections from the gross production tax on oil and natural gas dropped below prior year collections in November for the first time in 19 months, down by $3.72 million or 5.3 percent. However, this reflects production from September, when oil was $93 a barrel. It is now about $66, so tax collections are expected to drop further. Oil hit a peak of $106 in June.
Attorneys general in at least a dozen states have formed an ‘unprecedented, secretive alliance’ with the energy industry to fight federal environmental regulations, The New York Times Eric Lipton reports. Continue Reading
U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams requested the injunction this week, The Tulsa World reports.
The 2015 session is still months away, but the newly elected Oklahoma Legislature has already started talking about how to divvy up roughly $7 billion in state appropriations.
Some prominent lawmakers are promising to re-examine tax credits and economic incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of those incentives are used for wind energy, which the industry says are working.Continue Reading
On Nov. 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its determination that Texas’ plan to reduce haze-causing emissions from its coal-fired power plants wouldn’t do enough to clear the air at national parks and wildlife refuges, including the Wichita National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Oklahoma.
Instead, the EPA will set the standards, which will likely force some plants to switch to natural gas or install expensive air scrubbers. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality didn’t take the news well, saying the EPA’s requirements would cost electricity customers billions of dollars for “a negligible increase in visibility.” Continue Reading
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for stricter ozone standards has been praised by environmentalists as a step in the right direction and derided by industry groups, which argue the rules will cost jobs and lead to higher prices for electricity and natural gas.
In Oklahoma, local government officials say tougher rules aren’t needed because ozone levels are already improving, and the state Department of Environmental Quality says the state would have a hard time meeting the proposed rules, which would reduce ozone standard from 75 parts per billon to between 65 and 70. Continue Reading
Oklahoma’s largest utility companies will spend more than $1 billion to upgrade coal-fired power plants or retire them in favor of natural gas, all to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule, which is meant to improve visibility at national parks and wildlife refuges.
But as StateImpact reported, the haze issues at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton are being caused by power plants in Texas, not Oklahoma, and concerned residents in the area wanted to see plants in Texas held to the same standard as the ones here.
On Monday, they got their wish. Continue Reading
The cost of producing and providing electricity generated by solar panels and wind turbines has plunged in recent years, and are on track to meet — and in some markets are already beating — the generation costs of conventional sources like coal and natural gas.
Price parity has been a “long-held dream” of the solar and wind industries, The New York Times‘ Diane Cardwell reports. And alternative energy is proving competitive to conventional energy sources — especially in Oklahoma:
In September, the Grand River Dam Authority in Oklahoma announced its approval of a new agreement to buy power from a new wind farm expected to be completed next year. Grand River estimated the deal would save its customers roughly $50 million from the project. Continue Reading