Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Joe Wertz

Joe Wertz is multi-platform reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma. He has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

  • Email: joe@stateimpactoklahoma.org

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

Oklahoma And Other States Planning to Enjoy Solar Eclipse From The ‘Cheap Seats’

A partial solar eclipse captured over Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City in 2014.

Bill Davis / Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

A partial solar eclipse captured over Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City in 2014.

A temporary mass migration that could reach into the millions is expected as people across the United States relocate to catch a prime view of the country’s first coast-to-coast total eclipse in nearly a century.

The vast majority of the country, including Oklahoma, isn’t in the path of “totality.”

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Alternative to Earthquake-Linked Wastewater Disposal Stirs up Opportunity for Oklahoma’s Oil Industry

Electricians complete last-minute work at Newfield's Barton Water Recycling Facility near Calumet, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Electricians complete last-minute work at Newfield's Barton Water Recycling Facility near Calumet, Okla.

A key part in solving the state’s earthquake crisis is the long-term management of an enormous amount of oil-field wastewater likely triggering the shaking. The energy industry is working to solve this billion-barrel-a-year problem, and one promising alternative to risky disposal wells is reusing wastewater instead of pumping it underground.

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EPA Moves to Add Midwest City Site to National List of Most Urgent Hazardous Cleanups

Eagle Industries in Midwest City has a for-lease sign in front of the office. Officials say site hasn't been active since 2010.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Eagle Industries in Midwest City has a for-lease sign in front of the office. Officials say site hasn't been active since 2010.

The U.S. Environmental Protection agency is moving to add an Oklahoma facility that inspected and repaired aircraft oxygen and fire extinguisher systems to the nation’s list of most polluted hazardous waste sites.

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Analysis Confirms State Discounts Taxes on Oil Wells When They’re Most Productive

Workers assemble a horizontal drilling rig in southwestern Oklahoma's Grady County, near a booming oil play known as the SCOOP.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Workers assemble a horizontal drilling rig in southwestern Oklahoma's Grady County, near a booming oil play known as the SCOOP.

More than half the oil and gas a typical horizontal well will produce over its lifetime in Oklahoma is pumped to the surface during its first three years, a new report from Oklahoma Watch shows.

That relatively short window of abundant production is important because that’s when the wells are taxed at much lower rates, reports Warren Vieth from Oklahoma Watch, which tapped data analysis firm Wenzel Technology to crunch 30 years worth of production numbers from more than 3,000 horizontal wells. Continue Reading

Trump’s Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Promise Has Broad Appeal And Big Challenges

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, promoted investment in infrastructure in a day-long tour that included a stop at the Frederick Regional Airport.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, promoted investment in infrastructure in a day-long tour that included a stop at the Frederick Regional Airport.

A cornerstone of President Trump’s campaign and presidency is a $1 trillion proposal to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. The promise is a popular one, and could find bipartisan support across the country and in Congress. The infrastructure needs in Oklahoma illustrate why this issue is so appealing — and challenging.

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