“Feds Subpoena Chesapeake Energy Over Royalty Complaints”

From our partners at StateImpact Pennsylvania: “Chesapeake Energy has been subpoenaed by the federal Department of Justice, seeking information on its royalty payment practices to mineral owners.”


The company has been the subject of widespread complaints in Pennsylvania and other areas of the country where it operates. Landowners have accused Chesapeake of violating lease agreements and underpaying royalties. In a regulatory filing today with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company disclosed it has received subpoenas from the DOJ and other states. Chesapeake says it has “engaged in discussions with the DOJ and state representatives” and continues to respond to demands for information.

Read more at: stateimpact.npr.org

Hunters Hopeful Wetter Summer Means More Wildlife In Oklahoma’s Woods

Jack Barrett, owner of the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Okla., shows off a new shotgun model popular with hunters.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jack Barrett, owner of the BDC Gun Room in Shawnee, Okla., shows off a new shotgun model popular with hunters.

Nearly a quarter of a million hunters are set to grab their guns and stalk through Oklahoma’s woods when deer gun season opens the week before Thanksgiving.

But years of drought have taken a toll on wildlife populations in Oklahoma, and the men and women who hunt and fish for them.

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“Falling Oil Prices Make Fracking Less Lucrative”

But Steven Pruett, president and chief executive officer of Elevation Resources in Midland, Texas says low oil prices haven’t created a crisis situation for most energy companies. If prices collapsed to 2008 levels, when oil was fetching less than $35 dollars a barrel, drillers might be forced to take more drastic steps like shutting down production. But few are predicting crude will fall that much, NPR’s Jeff Brady reports.


Oil prices are down than more than 25 percent since June and are staying low for now. Drivers may appreciate that, but for oil companies, it’s making some of the most controversial methods of producing oil less profitable – and in a few cases, unprofitable.

Read more at: www.npr.org

StateImpact on OETA: The Last Weekend at Walnut Creek State Park

Walnut Creek State Park near Prue in Osage County closed for the season on Oct. 1, and might never open again. Walnut Creek is yet another victim of shrinking budgets and changing priorities at the state department of tourism that have meant the closure or transfer of numerous state parks over the last few years.

OETA photographer Tony D’Astoli joined StateImpact’s Logan Layden for Walnut Creek’s final weekend as a state park, and put a visible face on our radio report during The Oklahoma News Report Oct. 23. See above video. Continue Reading

Rush of Small Wind and Solar Installations as Regulators Prepare for Fee Requests

A worker installs a rooftop solar panel.

Green MPs / Flickr

A worker installs a rooftop solar panel.

Customers wanting to generate power from small wind turbines and solar panels without being assessed fees rushed to make sure such installations were fully operational by Saturday, Nov. 1.

The deadline was imposed by Senate Bill 1456, which “requires utilities to account for potential costs those customers impose” on electric utilities, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports: Continue Reading

“Oklahoma Judge Dismisses Earthquake Lawsuit”

Sandra Ladra in August filed the lawsuit against the operators of Lincoln County water disposal wells, claiming they caused the 5.6-magnitude earthquake that shook near Prague, Okla., in November 2011 “that caused rock from her fireplace to land in her lap and injure her knee,” The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.


Judge Cynthia Ferrell Ashwood said the district court does not have jurisdiction, and that the case should instead be handled by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.“The court further finds that this court would be required to decide issues that are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission,” Ashwood wrote. “As a result, this court finds that it does not have jurisdiction to hear this case.”

Read more at: newsok.com

Hearing on Disposal Well Rules Exposes Gaps in State’s Earthquake Response

Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, questions Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague at an interim study and hearing about earthquakes and disposal well oversight held in October 2014.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, questions Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague at an interim study and hearing about earthquakes and disposal well oversight held in October 2014.

Oklahoma’s earthquake surge is unrelenting. The shaking is rattling residents and cracking the foundations of homes.

The quakes have also strained state agencies, which are struggling to keep up with the ongoing swarm while simultaneously developing a longer-term plan to analyze and address factors that might be triggering the earthquakes.

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Oklahoma’s New Normal: Water Forum Centers On Drought Adaptation

Robert Moore, general manager of the Marshall County Water Corporation, addresses a panel on local planning for future droughts at the 35th annual Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference in Oklahoma City Oct. 22.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Robert Moore, general manager of the Marshall County Water Corporation, addresses a panel on local planning for future droughts at the 35th annual Oklahoma Governor's Water Conference in Oklahoma City Oct. 22.

Drought — and how to deal with it — was the central theme of the annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference last week in Oklahoma City, where water experts and authorities discussed issues ranging from crop management to what Las Vegas can teach Oklahoma about water conservation.

Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director J.D. Strong made the point again this year: The future looks like the past — hotter and drier — and no one should be surprised. Continue Reading

Eastern Oklahoma Coal Mining Comeback Stalls as Demand From China Falls

Steel Plant, Anshan, Liaoning, China, February 2009.

Sonya Song / Flickr

Steel Plant, Anshan, Liaoning, China, February 2009.

In May of last year, it looked like impoverished areas of eastern Oklahoma would be getting a lifeline. Coal mining, once a vital industry there, appeared to be headed for a comeback thanks to booming international demand.

Local residents were excited about the prospect of hundreds of new jobs when StateImpact first visited Heavener, but the mining project has stalled.

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Debate About Competition and Cost at Senate Panel on Wind Incentives

Frank Robson, a wind farm opponent and property developer from Claremore, Okla., at an Oct. 21 Senate hearing on tax incentives for the wind industry.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Frank Robson, a wind farm opponent and property developer from Claremore, Okla., at an Oct. 21 Senate hearing on tax incentives for the wind industry.

Members of the state Senate Finance Committee heard testimony on Tuesday from the wind industry and a representative of a group of property owners pushing for stricter regulation of wind farms.

The Senate study centered on the cost-benefit of tax credits and incentives used by the wind industry. Supporters said Oklahoma’s incentives attract projects that might otherwise be built in other states with similar wind potential, including sites in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas. Continue Reading

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