Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Lawton to Dredge Waurika Lake in Latest Attempt to Combat Drought

The dry boat ramp at the Chisholm Trail Ridge Campground on the eastern shore of Waurika Lake.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The dry boat ramp at the Chisholm Trail Ridge Campground on the eastern shore of Waurika Lake in Jan. 2015.

Lawton is pulling out all the stops in its battle with the ongoing drought in western Oklahoma. Last week, StateImpact reported on the city’s plan to create more rain through cloud-seeding. Now Lawton is moving forward with a project to dredge built up silt from the bottom of Waurika Lake that’s clogging pumps and making what little water is left in the lake harder to access. Continue Reading

“Hamm Defends 2013 Meeting With Okla. Seismologist and OU President”

Continental Resources Chairman and founder Harold Hamm says his 2013 meeting with Okahoma’s state seismologist and University of Oklahoma President David Boren was to get information, not to pressure scientists to change findings related to earthquakes, EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan reports.

“The insinuation that there was something untoward that occurred in meetings with Austin Holland is both offensive and inaccurate,” Hamm said in an email sent to The Oklahoman newspaper Friday. “Austin works for a state agency. Upon its founding, the Oklahoma Geological Survey had a solid reputation of an agency that was accessible and of service to the community and industry in Oklahoma. We hope that the agency can continue the legacy to provide this service.” At the time of the November 2013 meeting, Holland’s agency had joined the U.S. Geological Survey in saying that oil and gas activity might be a “contributing factor” in the swarm of quakes. In the months after those meetings, OGS returned to its previous position rejecting links between earthquakes and oil and gas activity.

Read more at: www.eenews.net

Amended Bill Would Prohibit Cities and Towns from ‘Effectively’ Banning Oil and Gas Activities

Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.

A proposed amendment to legislation limiting the power local governments have to regulate oil and gas operations expands the bill’s language to prevent cities and towns from enacting rules “effectively” banning drilling, fracking and related activities.

House Bill 2178 was authored by Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, who also wrote the amendment. I’ve highlighted the proposed changes below: Continue Reading

Study: ‘Reawakened’ Oklahoma Faults Could Produce Larger Earthquakes

Click here to read a .pdf of the study, "Earthquake hypocenters and focal mechanisms in central Oklahoma reveal a complex system of reactivated subsurface strike-slip faulting."

Geophysical Research Letters

Click here to read a .pdf of the study, "Earthquake hypocenters and focal mechanisms in central Oklahoma reveal a complex system of reactivated subsurface strike-slip faulting."

The faults responsible for thousands of earthquakes in Oklahoma are capable of producing larger earthquakes, according to a new study.

These “reactivated” faults were formed roughly 300 million years ago and are well known for creating underground structures that “trap” oil and natural gas, the U.S. Geological Survey wrote in a statement about the new research.

A primary reason for reactivation is the northeast or northwest orientation of the faults relative to the east to west direction of regional tectonic stress in earth’s upper crust, which increases the probability of a future, larger earthquake.

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New Severance Tax on Limestone Miners Passes Oklahoma House

An active aggregate mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

An active aggregate mining operation near Mill Creek, Okla.

South-central Oklahoma — where the sensitive Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer provides water for thousands of Oklahomans — is home to some of the highest quality limestone in the country, and the ground holds vast supplies of the silica sand used by the oil and gas industry in the hydraulic fracturing process.

For years, south-central Oklahoma lawmakers have been pushing for a severance tax on the limestone and sand mined out of the aquifer, which many residents say is damaging the Arbuckle-Simpson and threatening the future of communities in the area. On Tuesday, a severance tax bill passed the state House by a vote of 60-35. Continue Reading

Lawton Turns to Weather Manipulation to Aid Drought-Stricken City Water Supplies

A Lockheed WC-130B used by U.S. government researchers Stormfury, a cloud seeding research project focused on reducing the strength of hurricanes.

NOAA

A Lockheed WC-130B used by U.S. government researchers Stormfury, a cloud seeding research project focused on reducing the strength of hurricanes.

Five years of drought has strangled lakes and reservoirs in southwestern Oklahoma.

The city of Lawton is considering extraordinary means to help fill water supplies. City leaders hope a man with an airplane can manipulate the weather and bring more rain.

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Hearing Begins Over OG&E’s Controversial Plan To Comply With Clean Air Act

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.

Oklahoma Gas and Electric — the state’s largest utility — and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt fought the EPA’s new Clean Air Act regulations for years before being left with no choice but to comply.

Now, after being beaten back in court, OG&E is asking the state Corporation Commission for permission to increase customer electricity rates so it has the money it says is needed to convert coal-fired units at its Muskogee Plant to natural gas, and install air scrubbers at its Sooner Plant. Continue Reading

Oklahoma House Unanimously Approves Bill Reducing Wind Industry Subsidies

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday voted 89-0 to approve proposed legislation that would significantly reduce the amount of tax incentives paid to the wind industry.

House Bill 1554 was authored by Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, who has pledged to curtail tax credits and incentives whose cost has ballooned along with Oklahoma’s booming wind industry.

From the Associated Press:

Sears said the bill in its current form would reduce by about 70 percent the amount of tax credits wind producers receive, although he acknowledged discussions with the industry are ongoing on the final amount. The credits are paid based on the amount of electricity produced by the facilities.

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“Drought Grants Approved For Three Rural Oklahoma Communities”

Oklahoma’s 2012 Water for 2060 Act set a goal of not using more water in 2060 than the state used in 2012. To that end, grants are available to communities that want to implement drought mitigation or conservation measures that save water.

The Boise City Public Works Authority will receive $135,000 to save about 1.1 million gallons per year. The Fort Supply Public Works Authority will receive $397,700 that will save about 3.7 million gallons of water per year. The town of Shattuck will receive a $500,000 grant to save about 12.3 million gallons per year.

Read more at: www.newschannel10.com

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