Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak is considering regulations that create a “file-and-use” system for earthquake insurance policies, “meaning insurers would have to submit rate increases to the Oklahoma Insurance Department in advance,” The Oklahoman’s Brianna Bailey reports.
The deadline to fund state government is rapidly approaching, and legislators are struggling to bridge a $1.3 billion budget gap. One idea is to end a tax rebate for unprofitable oil and gas wells, but small oil and gas producers say their safety net shouldn’t be used to plug the state’s budget hole.
The oil boom minted millionaire executives and transformed Oklahoma City into a corporate energy hub, but industry tax breaks and funding cuts kept much of the prosperity from reaching public services, a new Reuters investigation shows. Continue Reading
Come July 1, the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission will be no more.
Gov. Mary Fallin on May 11 signed a bill disbanding the small state agency, transferring its mission — and employees — to the Grand River Dam Authority, which now takes on the Commission’s role of keeping Oklahoma’s six scenic rivers clean and safe for tourists. Continue Reading
The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would end a tax break for “economically distressed” oil and gas wells, The Oklahoman’s Rick Green reports.
Insurance companies moved to limit their exposure as Oklahoma’s earthquake rate exploded, according to an investigation by Reuters.
Examining thousands of pages of documents from the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, reporter Luc Cohen found the efforts by nearly a dozen insurance companies “often occurred at the expense of homeowners”:
Even as they insured more and more properties against earthquakes in the past two years, six insurers hiked premiums by as much as 260 percent and three increased deductibles. Three companies stopped writing new earthquake insurance altogether, state regulatory filings obtained by Reuters show. Several insurers took more than one of those steps.
Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives last week chose a new leader for 2017: Charles McCall. The Republican is from Atoka in southeast Oklahoma, which could bring a unique perspective on water to the capitol.
“Three environmental organizations this week sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking for national rules and regulations on the handling and disposing of produced water and other waste products,” The Oklahoman’s Adam Wilmoth reports.
Federal researchers feared Oklahomans were getting inaccurate information and inadequate warnings from state government scientists and officials tasked with studying and responding to a surge of earthquakes linked to oil and gas activity, a StateImpact investigation has found.
The decision allows the state’s largest utility to continue work installing air scrubbers at its coal-fired power plant in Red Rock, Okla., but environmental groups wanted OG&E to move away from coal.