“Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. Embarks on 2.5-megawatt Solar Pilot Project”

OG&E’s $7.5 million test project near Mustang has two sites, one with 2,000 fixed solar panels; the other with about 8,000 panels that track the sun, Paul Monies reports.


Scott Milanowski, OG&E’s director of engineering, innovation and technology, said the south site is equivalent to about 100 homes with solar panels; the north site would be about 400 homes. OG&E drew criticism from some renewable energy advocates last year after it supported legislation to end a 1977 law that forbade utilities in Oklahoma from charging more to solar users. Senate Bill 1456 allows regulated utilities to ask regulators to establish a new rate structure for users of distributed generation from rooftop solar or small wind turbines. Utilities argued the change was needed so distributed generation users were paying their fair share of grid-connection costs. Critics contend it was a defensive move intended to stave off competition from fast-growing solar generation.

Read more at: newsok.com

State Parks in Danger After Tourism Department’s $16 Million Budget Cut

Justin Stratford and several of his nieces and nephews play in Lake Thunderbird on a road trip from Arizona.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Justin Stratford and several of his nieces and nephews play in Lake Thunderbird on a road trip from Arizona.

The $7.1 billion state budget Governor Mary Fallin signed in June 2015 included deep cuts to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation — the agency that runs the state park system. That could mean some parks will have to be closed or transferred to new operators, and some eastern Oklahoma lawmakers are fuming.

Continue Reading

Agency That Protects Oklahoma’s Scenic Rivers Takes Another Big Budget Cut

James Gaylor plays in a tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

James Gaylor plays in a tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla.

When Governor Mary Fallin signed the $7.1 billion budget earlier this week, the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission took a big cut. It’s a small state agency with a big job: overseeing hundreds of miles of river and roads in northeast Oklahoma with dwindling resources.

Continue Reading

Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Flooded With New Problems As Drought Ends

The latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The latest update of the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Given the choice between the crippling drought of the past nearly 5 years and the ongoing threat of flooding Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are currently dealing with, Chris Kirby with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission says she’ll take the rain every time.

“I’ve heard some people say, ‘well, I don’t want to complain about the rain, because the last time I did, it quit raining for six years,” Kirby tells StateImpact.

But flooding has becoming a big problem for the agriculture industry, and, as The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports, is cutting into what was expected to be a much better wheat crop compared to the past few years: Continue Reading

Oklahoma Attacks EPA as Federal Agency Finalizes ‘Waters of the U.S’ Rule

Oklahoma farmer Mason Bolay worries the streambeds and ponds on his family's land will now be regulated by the federal government.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma farmer Mason Bolay worries the streambeds and ponds on his family's land will now be regulated by the federal government.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States Rule — also known as the Clean Water Rule — attempts to clarify which bodies of water qualify for federal protection — which ones are streams, which ones are tributaries, whether pollution dumped into one stream will trickle into another — that sort of thing.

But what the EPA says is nothing more than a tweak to current rules that farmers won’t event notice, opponents say is a vast federal government overreach that will extend to every pond and ditch in the country. Continue Reading

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education