Researchers acknowledge that underground fluid disposal can trigger or induce earthquakes, but there is debate on some of the scientific details, and some dissent over whether there’s enough evidence to conclude that Oklahoma’s quakes are drilling-related.
There’s another way to get more data: Create a small earthquake — and that’s what the state’s official seismologist, Austin Holland at the Oklahoma Geological Survey, is seeking permission to do in Love County, Reuters’ Carey Gillam reports: Continue Reading →
Oklahoma already has highest average cost for homeowner’s insurance, thanks, in part, to frequent hail, floods, high winds, tornadoes and wildfires — disasters many Oklahomans are well-versed in. But earthquakes are a new experience for many Oklahomans, as are the the related financial costs of preparedness.
Here are five things Oklahomans should know about earthquake insurance. Continue Reading →
Pruitt said after the hearing that no new coal plants are being proposed anyway because natural gas is cheap and new natural gas plants don’t face the same regulatory hurdles. However, he said, the EPA is planning to propose new standards for existing power plants. The draft regulations are expected next summer and a final rule a year later. “It’s all about existing power,” Pruitt said in an interview after the hearing. “This is a meaningful concern for states. This is not just about coal. This isn’t coal versus natural gas. This is just anti-fossil fuel.”
The Tennessee Valley Authority on Thursday announced is would retire six coal-fired power plants in Alabama and replace two in Kentucky with a new natural gas plant.
TVA CEO Bill Johnson cited stricter environmental regulations and a “flat demand” for electricity, NPR’s Scott Neuman reports.
But the move could be a boon for Oklahoma wind energy, specifically plans for a $2 billion heavy-duty power line that would help close a transmission gap, and connect western Oklahoma wind projects with the TVA grid in Memphis. The Oklahoman‘s Jay Marks reports:
TVA provides power for 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. The government-owned utility is looking to diversify its power generating mix, as evidenced by its move away from coal.
Utility bills in Norman are going up. On Tuesday, voters there approved a sewer rate increase by a more than 50 point margin, 76 percent to 24 percent, as The Norman Transcript‘s Andy Rieger reports:
City utilities director Ken Komiske said he was proud that the community stepped forward to approve the increase which amounts to an estimated $3.74 per month for an average household. The increase will begin Dec. 1 and will partially fund $63 million in improvements to the wastewater treatment plant in south Norman.
The current wastewater treatment plant in south Norman is outdated and can’t handle the amount of sewage the city needs it to, among other problems like aging equipment and an unpleasant odor.
The result was a consent order from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, which means Norman has to fix the deficiencies or face fines of as much as $10,000 per day. Continue Reading →
This 2011 fire in the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge was fueled, in part, by red cedars.
Eastern Red Cedar trees are bad for Oklahoma. The volatile oils they contain can cause the trees to explode during wildfires, spreading embers over hundreds of yards. They crowd out other plants, force wildlife off their habitats, and hoard rainfall — which is bad news during a drought.
As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, it’s been said each red cedar can guzzle dozens of gallons of water each day:
Last year, for example, a county Republican Party organization warned in an email that the invasive tree could consume an overwhelming 50 to 60 gallons of water a day, making drought even worse.
But he red cedar’s gluttony for water has been greatly exaggerated, according to researchers at Oklahoma State University, the paper reports. Continue Reading →
There’s too much phosphorous in the vast majority of Oklahoma’s lakes and streams.
Excessive phosphorous and nitrogen leads to blue-green algae blooms, which can cause respiratory, eye, and stomach problems in people, and fish kills due to lack of oxygen.
The Journal Record‘s M. Scott Carter looked at recent reports from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and found…
Seventy-one percent of Oklahoma’s lakes have high to excessive levels of the nutrients that spawn blue-green algae blooms. But only a handful of communities work to remove phosphorous — the primary culprit for the algae — from wastewater before it’s pumped back into the watershed.
The state’s largest utility has about four years to meet the standard of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule. OG&E says some of the costs of compliance could be passed on to customers.
Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. estimates it will have to spend up to $1.5 billion to comply with several environmental rules, including compliance costs for a recent court ruling that went against the electric utility.
Jeff Converse of the Canton Lake Association stands in front of a boat ramp he says has been surrounded by mud and weeds since Oklahoma City withdrew water from the lake in January.
Canton, Oklahoma — population 625 — is a town on the brink. Canton relies on lake season, and lake season never really got started this year.
At the first of the year, Oklahoma City took water from Canton Lake to meet demand at the height of the drought. While that decision kept faucets flowing in the metro, it threatens the very existence of Canton the community.