Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

A River of Uncertainty Lingers As State Approves OKC’s Permit For Southeastern Oklahoma Water

Jerry Gutierrez steers his golf cart on a tour of his ranch near the Kiamichi River in southeastern Oklahoma. Gutierrez and other nearby residents urged the state not to approve Oklahoma City's permit to tap water from river.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jerry Gutierrez steers his golf cart on a tour of his ranch near the Kiamichi River in southeastern Oklahoma. Gutierrez and other nearby residents urged the state not to approve Oklahoma City's permit to tap water from river.

Oklahoma City’s decades-long quest for a permit to pump water out of southeastern Oklahoma is over. This week, state regulators approved a key part of the city’s $1 billion-plus project to meet the metro’s long-term water needs, but residents and water rights groups say the urban victory marks a milestone — not the end of the road.

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Education Leaders Say Drop in State Test Scores Due to Tougher Grading System, Not Poor Performance

Soon-to-be-released statewide test scores are expected to be much lower than they were in the past, but top education officials say the drop is due to a more difficult grading system, not poor-performing students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the state has a new way of measuring student proficiency.

“This has been a time of recalibrating,” she said in an interview after a press conference held with reporters to explain the declining scores.

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How Controversy And Current Events Become Critical Curriculum In Some Oklahoma Classrooms

Students at Luther High School watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" before a class discussion.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Students at Luther High School watch Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream Speech" before a class discussion.

Polls suggest this is one of the the most politically divided moments in American history. There are now tip sheets on how to survive Thanksgiving without disowning your family, and the comment sections of online news articles are full of vitriol.

Schools are not immune to the tension, but not everyone thinks that’s a bad thing.

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To Help Save Monarchs, Oklahoma Conservationists Work to Repair a Plant’s Weedy Reputation

A tagged Monarch butterfly on a flowering lantana plant at the Oklahoma City.

CARE_SMC / Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

A tagged Monarch butterfly on a flowering lantana plant at the Oklahoma City.

Stephanie Henson admires her colorful backyard garden in Edmond. Approaching a pink-and-white plant, she squeals and laughs and she spots some butterflies.

“Oh look, they’re itty-bitty,” she says. “Look at ’em!”

Henson doesn’t know much about gardening, but she’s doing what she can to attract butterflies, which is what conservation specialists and government officials are trying to encourage here in Oklahoma and across the country.

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New Law Gives Oklahoma More Responsibility In Finding And Fixing Failing Schools

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Oklahoma State Department of Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister

Many people say the former massive federal education law, No Child Left Behind, was a failure. When President George W. Bush signed it in 2002, he set a huge goal for the country: Every child would meet the proficiency standard on state tests by 2014.

But, that never happened.

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Guarded Hope At Oklahoma’s Abandoned Mine As EPA Promises Focus On Contaminated Sites

Rebecca Jim, executive director of the L.E.A.D Agency, at the nonprofit's headquarters in Miami, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Rebecca Jim, executive director of the L.E.A.D Agency, at the nonprofit's headquarters in Miami, Okla.

Newly minted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent his first months on the job steering the agency away from climate change to focus, in part, on cleaning up contaminated sites around the country.

The former Oklahoma attorney general has directed a task force to create a top-10 list of locations that need aggressive attention — welcome news at Superfund sites like Tar Creek in the northeastern corner of the state.

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Oklahoma Latest Front As Military and Wind Developers Fight For Open Sky

Trainees in the control tower at Altus Air Force Base watch as a C-17 cargo plane taxis to the runway.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Senior Airman Yazmine Nanasca watches as a C-17 cargo plane taxis to the runway from her perch in the control tower at Altus Air Force Base.

Developers recently announced plans to build the country’s largest wind farm in Oklahoma’s Panhandle. The industry is growing and turbine projects are expanding across the state. But wind energy developers are facing a new headwind: military air bases.

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New Research Questions Forecasted Earthquake Slowdown

A team from U.C. Santa Cruz and the Oklahoma Geological Survey cast doubt on a predicted decline in Oklahoma earthquakes in a paper published in Science Advances.

Science Advances

A team from U.C. Santa Cruz and the Oklahoma Geological Survey cast doubt on a predicted decline in Oklahoma earthquakes in a paper published in Science Advances.

A new research paper suggests Oklahoma’s earthquake hazard might not taper off as quickly or as significantly as scientists previously predicted.

The energy industry practice of pumping toxic waste-fluid byproducts of oil and gas production into underground disposal wells is thought to be fueling Oklahoma’s earthquake surge. This activity peaked in 2015 and slowed due to regulations and low oil prices.

A November 2016 study by Stanford University geophysicists predicted fewer earthquakes and less-damaging shaking would soon follow, but newly published research is less optimistic.  Continue Reading

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