Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

U.S. Sen. Lankford Moves to Permanently ‘Sunset’ Federal Wind Incentive

The Chisholm View wind farm near Hunter, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Chisholm View wind farm near Hunter, Okla.

U.S. Sen. James Lankford is introducing a bill to remove an expired wind energy incentive from the federal tax code.

The federal Production Tax Credit for wind energy expired in December 2014, but since it’s part of the tax code, lawmakers can extend it by bundling it with legislation to extend other tax credits and incentives. That has happened as recently as July, when a Senate committee voted to extend the PTC as part of a $95 billion bundle of incentives. Continue Reading

“Halliburton Offers Settlements to Property Owners in Lawsuits”

Halliburton is offering settlements to about 130 property owners after pollution from spent rocket fuel was found in groundwater near the Osage Road facility in Duncan.

In 2011, Halliburton disclosed that it had found ammonium perchlorate in residential water wells around its closed plant in north Duncan, where the company had carried out Cold War-era defense contract work to clean fuel from spent missile casings. Ash from the burned rocket fuel waste was stored in an evaporation pond on the site that was unlined until the late 1980s, records show. Residents filed several lawsuits against Halliburton, claiming the company knew about the contamination at Osage Road for years, but failed to warn residents or conduct adequate water testing.

Read more at: newsok.com

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Osage County Wind Farm, Says Turbine Construction Isn’t ‘Mining’

A federal judge on Wednesday rejected arguments from the Osage Nation and the U.S. Department of Interior and ruled that wind energy projects in Osage County do not violate tribal mineral rights.

The Osage Nation “has long opposed wind development across the county, arguing that it mars the natural beauty of the prairie and could potentially destroy burial sites. The tribe also lost a previous court case arguing that wind development would interfere with oil production,” the Tulsa World‘s Michael Overall reports:

In a lawsuit field last November, federal and tribal officials claimed that developers should have applied for permits from the Osage Nation before digging pits for the construction of wind turbine foundations, removing limestone and other natural resources that belong to the tribe under federal law. Each pit measures as much as 60 feet wide and 30 feet deep, excavating more than 60,000 cubic yards of minerals across the entire Osage Wind development west of Pawhuska, according to the lawsuit. Continue Reading

Challenges and Progress Cleaning Up One of Oklahoma’s Most Polluted Places

University of Oklahoma professor Bob Nairn stands on a bridge overlooking Tar Creek, which is contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, iron, lead and zinc from decades of mining.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma professor Bob Nairn stands on a bridge overlooking Tar Creek, which is contaminated with arsenic, cadmium, iron, lead and zinc from decades of mining.

The Tri-State Mining District in northeastern Oklahoma’s Ottawa County was once the world’s largest source of lead and zinc. The mines had closed by the 1970s, but pernicious pollution still plagues what is now known as the Tar Creek superfund site.

Continue Reading

Group of Energy Officials and Researchers Releases Report Guiding States on Oil and Gas Earthquakes

StatesFirst has released a "primer" offering state policymakers guidance on oil and gas-triggered earthquakes.


StatesFirst has released a "primer" offering state policymakers guidance on oil and gas-triggered earthquakes.

A group of state energy officials, researchers and industry experts issued a report Monday offering guidance on how to handle earthquakes triggered by oil and gas activity.

The 148-page report from StatesFirst — a partnership between state officials and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Ground Water Protection Council — stops short of offering model regulations, but “represents perhaps the most candid discussion on the topic” since researchers started connecting earthquakes in Oklahoma and other states to fracking and waste-fluid disposal wells, the Associated Press reports:

It includes descriptions of how states handled various seismic incidents around the country, including their public relations strategies, and matter-of-factly references links between fracking or deep-injection wastewater disposal and earthquakes. Previously, public admissions had been fuzzy in some cases. Continue Reading

“July Quakes Cause Damage to Crescent High School”

The 4.5-magnitude quake that struck near the city on July 27 damaged brick walls of the school’s practice gym, the Enid News & Eagle’s Sally Asher reports.

The brick walls on both ends of the gym, about 15 inches thick, were not designed to be weight bearing, Hart said, and the shaking caused large cracks to run the length of both walls.
“There was no weight bearing to keep them stable,” he said. “They’re concerned if another 4.5 or whatever happened, it would become unstable again, and who knows.”
Structural engineers inspected every building for damage, and Hart said they still don’t have a repair plan or price tag on the project.

Read more at: www.enidnews.com

“Worst-case Scenario: Officials in Cushing Consider Plan for Larger Quakes”

Eleven magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes have been recorded near the Cushing oil hub since April 4. “Oil companies could easily respond if one tank were damaged, he said. But there’s no way for local first responders to have a worst-case scenario preparedness plan if all storage tanks were damaged by large earthquakes,” Sarah Terry-Cobo reports.

In a state historically unfamiliar with earthquakes, first responders and companies with crude storage discuss how to prepare and respond to temblors more now, Pixler said. Each company has their own earthquake response procedure and responds to seismic events individually, he said.Companies perform visual inspections after earthquakes, using staff to walk the length of pipelines and pilots to fly over those routes. At first, companies did inspections after magnitude 2 and magnitude 3 quakes, gathering data about how the ground’s shaking affect the tanks, Pixler said. Inspections showed lower magnitude temblors didn’t damage infrastructure.

Read more at: journalrecord.com

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