“Not their Fault? Oil Industry Geologist Looks Globally for Cause of Quakes”

At a July technical conference sponsored by the Oklahoma City Geological Society, Glen Brown, vice president of geology at Continental Resources Inc,” said global shifts in the Earth’s tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma.”


Brown said global shifts in the Earth’s tectonic plates are more likely to blame for the tremors in Oklahoma. Three of six of the world’s largest earthquakes happened in the 1950s and 1960s. Oklahoma had an earthquake swarm around that time in the 1950s, including the state’s second-largest quake, a 5.5 magnitude in El Reno in 1952.

Read more at: journalrecord.com

State Senator Calls for Federal Task Force on Oklahoma Earthquakes

State Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valiant, opposes the sale or transfer of Oklahoma water to Texas.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact

State Sen. Jerry Ellis, D-Valiant.

State Sen. Jerry Ellis on Monday suggested that a federal task force be formed to develop a statewide earthquake “emergency action plan.”

The task force would be charged with examining and evaluating scientific studies related to Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm, which a growing chorus of scientists say is likely linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry, and make recommendations on possible solutions, according to a press release from the House Democratic Caucus. Continue Reading

Dwindling Drought Doesn’t Mean a Slowdown in Water Conservation Efforts

The July 29 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which doesn't reflect the full impact of this week's rainfall.

U.S. Drought Monitor

The July 29 update of the U.S. Drought Monitor, which doesn't reflect the full impact of this week's rainfall.

Despite more than 80 percent of the state still being under some level of drought, recent wet weather and below average temperatures continue to reduce the severity and size of drought in Oklahoma.

As The Oklahoman‘s Graham Lee Brewer Reports, this week’s rainfall “bookended one of the wettest July’s on record for the state, with some areas receiving more than seven inches of rain.”

Including data reported just before 6 p.m. Wednesday, the statewide Oklahoma Mesonet rainfall average of rate past 30 days was 3.89 inches — 1.11 inches above normal.

That number equates to the 22nd-wettest such period dating to 1921, state climatologist Gary McManus said.

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“Major Oil Field Spill in Kingfisher County”

Corporation Commission officials say this may be the “biggest spill from fracking” the agency has ever handled.


Nearly 500 barrels of acid spilled in an alfalfa field Monday morning. The chemical HCL is used for fracking operations. There’s concern heavy rain will push the runoff into nearby Turkey Creek, which flows into Hennessey’s water system. The Corporation Commission is overseeing the cleanup of the acid spill just south of town. Their top priority is keeping the powerful chemical from getting into the water.

Read more at: www.koco.com

U.S. Wildlife Authorities Join State in Investigation of Owl Deaths at Oil Field Site

Officials found several dead birds in an open tank at this oilfield site in northwest Oklahoma.

Provided / Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Officials found several dead birds in this open saltwater tank at an oilfield site in northwest Oklahoma.

Federal authorities have joined state officials in an investigation of bird deaths at a neglected oil field site in northwestern Oklahoma.

Two oil-covered barn owls were found along with several other dead birds. The owls were taken in by a Fairview caretaker licensed to handle non-migratory birds, but both owls later died, the Enid News & Eagle and Associated Press report. Continue Reading

In Lawsuit Over Oil and Gas Tax Law, Two Ways to ‘Test’ a Revenue Bill in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenge laws in the past, comes out of a hearing room at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, leaves a courtroom at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.

The State Supreme Court on July 29 heard a lawsuit and constitutional challenge to House Bill 2562, a measure that would change the effective state tax rate levied on oil and gas production.

Both parties agreed that the measure was written to reduce taxes, but is HB 2562 a “revenue bill?” That definition is important because this court battle isn’t about policy, it’s about procedure.

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Inside the State Supreme Court Hearing on Lawsuit Over Oil and Gas Tax Rate


A lawsuit over recently signed legislation that changes state oil and gas tax rates will be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court today, a constitutional challenge that could have broad impact on industry and legislative procedure.

I broke down the lawsuit on an Oklahoma News Report segment with OETA’s Dick Pryor, which you can watch above. But here are five things you need to know about today’s hearing, which could hinge on legal subtleties and word interpretations. Continue Reading

Oil-Covered Owls Prompt Investigation of ‘Neglected’ Oil Field Site

The discovery of two barn oils coated in oil has prompted an investigation of a “neglected” oil field site in northwest Oklahoma.

One of the owls died, the Enid News & Eagle reported on July 25. The surviving bird is eating, walking and climbing and is being monitored by Jean Neal, a Fairview caretaker “licensed to handle small non-migratory animals.”

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission and state Department of Wildlife Conservation are investigating a site near the Major and Garfield County lines. Inspectors found several other dead birds floating in a saltwater tank at the site, the paper reports:

A preliminary report, compiled by an Oklahoma Corporation Commission oil and gas field inspector, noted there was oil on the ground around the tank and in several other areas inside the dike. Rig anchors were not marked, and there were no Oklahoma Tax Commission numbers on the storage tanks or the meter house, the report stated.

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Study: Anti-EPA States Like Oklahoma Would Benefit Most from New Carbon Rules

A pile of coal sits along the railroad tracks just east of Red Oak, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A pile of coal sits along the railroad tracks just east of Red Oak, Okla.

Oklahoma has been battling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over new environmental regulations since Gov. Mary Fallin came into office in 2010, and Attorney General Scott Pruitt is vowing to fight the latest proposed rule that would cut carbon emissions by 30 percent nationally.

But a new study from Strategic and International Studies and the Rhodium Group shows the state might be shooting itself in the foot by fighting what could end up being an economic boom.

From The New York TimesCoral Davenport:

The study took into account the economic costs imposed by the regulation and concluded that it would raise electricity rates by up to 10 percent in some parts of the country and eventually freeze coal production. But even taking those costs into account, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas together would experience an annual net economic benefit of up to about $16 billion, according to the study.

“The irony is that some of the states that have been the loudest in opposing E.P.A. climate regulations have the most to gain in terms of actual economic interest,” said Trevor Houser, an analyst at the Rhodium Group and a co-author of the study.

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Why Oklahoma’s Wind Energy Future Could be Shaped by Osage County

Bob Hamilton, director of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Bob Hamilton, director of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Okla.

Oklahoma is moving up the national ranks in wind-generated electricity. But as wind farms expand into northeastern Oklahoma, developers are facing a team of unlikely allies: oil interests and environmentalists.

Wind farm developers encounter opposition wherever projects are planned, but the debate in Oklahoma is perhaps most magnified in Osage County, where there’s a confluence of money, government and prairie politics.

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