“Donations from Devon PACs, Executives Fill GOP Campaign Coffers”

“Devon Energy’s political action committee and executive chairman have poured nearly $1 million since 2006 into the campaign funds of GOP candidates for state offices and party committees supporting them,” the Tulsa World reports.


Among the top individual recipients during that time is Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose campaign received the maximum $5,000 contribution from Devon Energy’s PAC this year, even though Pruitt was re-elected months later with no opponent. The contribution came in April, about two weeks after Pruitt wrote a letter to the EPA protesting the agency’s plans to study fracking. Connections between Pruitt and Devon Energy Corp., a $32 billion energy company based in Oklahoma City, were the focus of national attention following a recent New York Times investigation.

Read more at: www.tulsaworld.com

As Beef Industry Deals With Drought, Researchers Eye Less-Thirsty Cattle

Oklahoma Cows

Soonerpa / Flickr

The ongoing drought in Oklahoma affects everyone in the country. Well, everyone who likes to eat beef, that is. Beef and veal prices will have risen by about 11.5 percent in 2014, and, as Reuters reports, “will increase significantly again in 2015″ because of drought in the Southern Plains.

Drought dries up ponds and has forced ranchers to reduce the size of their herds since the current drought began four years ago. But as The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports, researchers from Oklahoma State University are using a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study how to make herds more resilient for future droughts: Continue Reading

Lawmaker to Propose Legislation Changing Tax Incentives for New Wind Farms

The 147-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center.

Travel Aficionado / Flickr

The 147-megawatt Weatherford Wind Energy Center.

Oklahoma Representative Earl Sears, is planning to file legislation modifying tax credits and incentives used by wind energy developers.

The legislation by Sears, R-Bartlesville, would only affect new wind projects and would target three tax credits used by the wind industry: Zero Emission Energy Generation, the five-year ad valorem exemption for manufacturers and other firms, and investment tax credits, eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley reports:

“In my opinion,” said Sears, R-Bartlesville, “those tax credits are very lucrative and must be reviewed on behalf of the taxpayers.”

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Mapped: Oklahoma’s Dams and the Potential Hazards They Pose

Explore Oklahoma’s dams with StateImpact’s interactive map detailing their age, type, owner, hazard classification and reported failures.


Oklahoma has the fifth-largest dam inventory in the United States. Ownership of the 4,700 dams is largely split between government agencies and private entities, including individual owners and other organizations like homeowner’s associations.
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Risk Associated With Dam Failures Grows in Oklahoma, But Safety Funding Lags

Families and a fisherman along the spillway beneath Broken Bow Dam in southeastern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Families and a fisherman along the spillway beneath Broken Bow Dam in southeastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has nearly 5,000 dams, more than most other states. When they were built, they were classified based on the risk their failure would pose to people and property.

But for many dams, it’s been decades since that risk was evaluated, and the potential hazard has changed because Oklahoma has changed. There are houses, roads and people where there weren’t before.

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“Injection Wells in Faults Could Trigger Earthquakes, Devon Executive Chairman Says”

Speeking Wednesday to the Tulsa Rotary Club, co-founder and executive chairman of Devon Energy Larry Nichols acknowledged injecting drilling wastewater “into a fault zone could cause an earthquake to happen sooner.”


When asked whether the government and industry should gather data to study the issue more, Nichols said: “Whether the injection of the water into the water-disposal well actually causes it or not doesn’t really matter. It might, and so don’t inject water into a disposal well where there’s a fault zone.”

Read more at: www.tulsaworld.com

Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt Says ‘Alliance’ With Energy Industry Wasn’t Secret

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shakes hands at the state capitol after the annual State of the State address.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shakes hands at the state capitol after the annual State of the State address.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt confirmed Monday that he has worked with the energy industry to push back against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda, but denied how The New York Times characterized those efforts, which were detailed in a story published over the weekend.

Pruitt’s alliance with energy companies isn’t a secret at all, basically. The Oklahoman‘s Randy Ellis reports:

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How Low Oil Prices Could Block an Oklahoma Tax Cut

ok-pumpjack

Katsrcool / flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin in April 2014 signed into law a measure designed to gradually lower Oklahoma’s top income tax rate to 4.85 percent from 5.25 percent.

But those income tax cuts only go into effect if Oklahoma’s revenues rise, and the slumping price of crude oil — $63.57 per barrel of West Texas Intermediate at the time of this posting — could block the tax-cut trigger, The Oklahoman‘s Rick Green reports:

Collections from the gross production tax on oil and natural gas dropped below prior year collections in November for the first time in 19 months, down by $3.72 million or 5.3 percent. However, this reflects production from September, when oil was $93 a barrel. It is now about $66, so tax collections are expected to drop further. Oil hit a peak of $106 in June.

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NY Times: Oklahoma’s Scott Pruitt a Leader in ‘Secretive Alliance’ Between Attorneys General and Energy Industry

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

Attorneys general in at least a dozen states have formed an ‘unprecedented, secretive alliance’ with the energy industry to fight federal environmental regulations, The New York Times Eric Lipton reports. Continue Reading

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