Waurika Lake Gets New Life as Desperately Needed Rain Finally Falls

As is evidenced by this photo from January, Waurika Lake was dangerously low before the recent rains.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

As is evidenced by this photo from January, Waurika Lake was dangerously low before the recent rains.

Before the consistent, heavy rains over the past week, Waurika Lake — the main source of water for Lawton and Duncan — was on the very brink of drying up too much to be used. Years of punishing drought led to the crisis, but what a difference a few days can make. Continue Reading

Oil Executive Says Meeting With State Earthquake Scientist Was About Information, Not Intimidation

Harold Hamm in April 2012 at TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In the World gala in New York City

Jemal Countess / Getty Images for TIME

Harold Hamm in April 2012 at TIME Magazine's 100 Most Influential People In the World gala in New York City

Harold Hamm, the founder, chairman and CEO of Continental Resources, says he requested a meeting with a state seismologist to get information, not to “bully” a scientist tasked with studying an earthquake surge that has been linked to oil and gas activity.

EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports:

In his first in-depth interview about his dealings with state officials on the issue of man-made earthquakes, the billionaire oilman said he knows that wastewater disposal can set the ground rumbling but said the practice of fracturing shouldn’t be associated with quakes.

Scientists say hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” can trigger earthquakes, but researchers suggest another oil and gas activity, the injection of waste fluid into disposal wells, is more likely behind the surge of earthquakes recorded in Oklahoma and other states. Continue Reading

A Snapshot of the Oil Industry’s Response to State’s Earthquake-Related Well Orders

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission in March ordered the operators of nearly 350 disposal wells to prove their operations weren’t allowing waste fluid to be pumped into a rock formation known to produce earthquakes.

The Corporation Commission has not provided comprehensive records or data related to the operators’ responses to the March directives despite multiple requests by StateImpact. Today, the commission issued a statement that provides a snapshot of the industry’s response to the directives:

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“Index Reflects Slowdown in Oklahoma Energy Industry”

Data from March show oil and gas activity in Oklahoma fell to a four-year low. One economist expects the slowdown to continue for at least 6 months, The Oklahoman reports.


“You’re going to see it at the local level in municipal tax collections, especially in western Oklahoma and south-central Oklahoma in areas where the rig count is falling off,” said Russell Evans, the Oklahoma City University economist whose team compiles the index. “Certainly we’re feeling this as contributing to some of the fiscal challenges at the state level.”

Read more at: newsok.com

What Oklahoma Farmers Think About The Right-to-Farm Issue In Oklahoma

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.

The right-to-farm bill survived Oklahoma’s legislative process last week. That means voters will have a chance to decide next year whether to give farmers and ranchers broad protections against future state laws that might interfere with their operations.

But opponents say right-to-farm is a license that allows big ag to harm animals and the environment. But where do actual Oklahoma farmers and ranchers stand on the issue?

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StateImpact’s Earthquake Research Reading List

quakeresearch_WEB

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Scientists say oil and gas activity is likely responsible for much of the earthquake activity that has surged in Oklahoma since 2009.

Seismologists, regulators, lawmakers, oil industry experts and everyday Oklahomans trying to understand the earthquake phenomenon — known as “induced seismicity” — face two seemingly contradictory observations: Oklahoma has a long history of oil and gas production, and the recent period of increased earthquake activity is comparatively short. Continue Reading

City Officials Reconsider Drilling Ordinances as Anti-Frack Ban Legislation Moves Forward

Stillwater resident Tammy Mix stands in front of an oil and gas well behind her house.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Stillwater resident Tammy Mix stands in front of an oil and gas well behind her house.

The Oklahoma House and Senate have advanced legislation to prevent cities, towns and counties from banning fracking and other oil and gas activities.

At least one of the bills will likely end up on the governor’s desk, but even in its unsigned, non-finalized form, the legislation is affecting local regulation.

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Why Midwest City Might Fight Norman’s Plan to Recycle Treated Wastewater

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Norman Utilities Director Ken Komiske

With concern over drought at a high point and plans to get water from southeast Oklahoma falling through, the City of Norman decided in 2014 to pursue a plan to clean water that has been used by customers and return it to Lake Thunderbird — the city’s main water source — to be used again.

There’s a growing trend toward wastewater reuse to combat drought and conserve water sources for the future, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of drinking what is, in essence, retreated toilet water. And Norman isn’t the only city that relies on Lake Thunderbird for its drinking water. Continue Reading

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