A rare joint Congressional hearing in Washington Wednesday took up the issue of “Waters of the United States,” the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to more clearly define which bodies of water qualify for federal protection under the Clean Water Act.
Republicans at the hearing — including Oklahoma’s senior senator and state attorney general — are convinced the move is a vast overreach of the EPA’s power that will place everything from ditches to farm ponds under government control.
The commission held a hearing Nov. 26 on SandRidge’s permit application due to staff concerns about earthquakes in the area, records show. SandRidge asked to dispose of up to 80,000 barrels of wastewater per day, or 29 million barrels per year. During the hearing, commission staff testified that the well was one mile from recent earthquakes. SandRidge had agreed to submit additional data to the commission on the amount of wastewater it was disposing and the amount of pressure used in the process.
After dipping to its lowest level in years, the price of oil may have bottomed out. Reuters reports prices rose again on Tuesday behind expectations of diminished oil supplies. That will come as welcome news, if little consolation, for oil-field service companies in Osage County hard hit by the recent downturn in the industry.
Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery traveled central Oklahoma and filed a story about Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm, an examination that included interviews from concerned residents, politicians and Sandra Ladra, who was injured in the 5.7-magnitude November 2011 earthquake and filed a lawsuit seeking damages from oil copanies she says are liable.
Montgomery also interviewed a cadre of university, federal and state scientists, who suggest at least some of the shaking has likely been triggered by disposal wells. A few lines, in particular, stood out: Continue Reading →
Since the current drought in western Oklahoma began, ranchers have collected more than $800 million in federal drought relief payments that aid livestock producers. That’s more than any other state, including California and Texas, which have larger cattle industries, The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports.
[USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey] said the difference is likely due to the fact that Oklahoma’s drought has been less widespread but longer-lasting than California’s. While western Oklahoma has been withering under drought since late 2010, the worst conditions didn’t strike California until 2013, he said. Continue Reading →
Seismologists say oil and natural gas disposal wells, like this one near Sparks, Okla., are likely triggering earthquakes in Oklahoma.
The state’s highest court will consider whether two oil companies can be held liable for injuries a woman suffered during the 2011 earthquake near Prague, Okla.
The 5.7-magnitude earthquake was the state’s largest recorded with modern instruments, and is the largest quake scientists have linked to disposal wells, a type of well oil and gas companies use to pump full of wastewater, a byproduct of oil and gas drilling.
The $425 million project, announced in 2012, has drawn criticism from some nearby landowners not happy about having a wind farm near their property. City officials in Piedmont deemed the project a “public nuisance” until a settlement was reached taking some planned turbine locations outside city limits. A group of landowners and the Oklahoma Wind Action Association sued Apex and several associated companies in federal court last year, claiming the Kingfisher wind farm would threaten their health and safety. Apex wants a judge to dismiss the case, saying any claims of harm were speculative.