Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

Environmental Groups Fight State’s Effort To Regulate Coal Ash On Its Own

Environmental groups, activists and residents urged the EPA not to approve the state's plan to regulate coal ash at a public hearing in February 2018.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Environmental groups, activists and residents urged the EPA not to approve the state's plan to regulate coal ash at a public hearing in February 2018.

Environmental groups and concerned residents this week told federal officials the Oklahoma agency charged with protecting air, land and water lacked the resources and rules to manage a state-run plan to regulate coal ash.

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One Way To Relieve Overcrowded Prisons: Make Lock-Up A Last Resort For Probation Violations

A group of people stand outside a courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

A group of people stand outside a courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse.

More than 30 people sit uncomfortably on hard, wooden benches under the watchful eyes of Judge Tim Henderson. It’s late morning in Henderson’s courtroom at the Oklahoma County courthouse. Some people have been waiting for hours.

Most of these people are on probation, and they’re anxiously waiting for their chance to make a deal. Judge Henderson says these people broke their plea agreements.

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Experts Say Oklahoma’s Opioid Plan Does Little to Expand Treatment

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased 91 percent over the last decade and a half, prompting the state to form a task force charged with a daunting goal: Brainstorm a plan to guide the state out of an opioid epidemic that kills three Oklahomans nearly every day.

The Commission on Opioid Abuse released its final report in January.

“The sort of clear and present danger is overprescribing and oversupply, and that was the focus of what we looked at,” Attorney General Mike Hunter, who headed the nine-member commission, said in an interview with StateImpact. Continue Reading

New Research: Limiting Volume And Depth Of Disposal Wells Key In Reducing Oklahoma Earthquakes

A tanker truck at an oil and gas production site in southeastern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A tanker truck at an oil and gas production site in southeastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma experienced a dramatic drop in earthquakes in 2017 — a decline likely due, in part, to regulations limiting activity at oil-field disposal wells, scientists and experts say. New research suggests those regulations might be reducing some quakes more than others.

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Educators Say Legislation On Spending Flexibility Could Increase School Inequality

Superintendent of Blanchard Public Schools, Jim Beckham, says if schools used property taxes for teacher pay, there’d be big inequities from district to district.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Superintendent of Blanchard Public Schools, Jim Beckham, says if schools used property taxes for teacher pay, there’d be big inequities from district to district.

Oklahoma lawmakers have butted heads for years over how to increase funding for education, but one recurring idea has been to give schools more flexibility in spending the money they already have.

A new bill filed by Sen. Josh Brecheen, R-Coalgate, is the most recent attempt to do this.

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Authorities Investigating Oklahoma Rig Explosion, Deadliest U.S. Drilling Accident In Years

Inspectors and emergency crews surveying damage at Patterson-UTI's rig 219, which exploded and caught fire Jan. 22.

Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Inspectors and emergency crews surveying damage at Patterson-UTI's rig 219, which exploded and caught fire Jan. 22.

Federal and state authorities are investigating the cause of the deadly explosion and fire at a natural gas drilling rig in southeastern Oklahoma on Monday.  Five workers died in what appears to be one of the country’s deadliest onshore drilling accidents. Continue Reading

How Increasing The Minimum Wage Could Lead To Healthier Babies

Baby Jacob weighs 7.14 pounds - some infants aren't as lucky.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact

Baby Jacob weighs 7.14 pounds - some infants aren't as lucky.

Jacob is just a few hours old when registered nurse Amy Burnett begins one of the simplest measurements to tell if a newborn is healthy — their weight.

“You want to make sure that they are naked, they have no diaper, and you bring him to the scale,” she says as she removes his tiny Pampers.

She gently picks him up, confidently balancing his body on her forearm like a football. Her purple gloved fingers encircle his neck as she hits a button on the scale, which beeps loudly, zeroing it out.

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