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

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Lawmakers Question Legality of ‘Creative’ Legislation to Squeeze More Revenue from Oil and Gas Taxes

Service companies parked oil-field trucks and other equipment at the state capitol in a public demonstration as legislators debated a measure that would effectively increase taxes some oil and gas producers pay.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Service companies parked oil-field trucks and other equipment at the state capitol in a public demonstration as legislators debated a measure that would effectively increase taxes some oil and gas producers pay.

Oklahoma lawmakers have struggled for months to agree on a formula to patch a nearly $900 million budget hole and sign off on a plan that funds state agencies. To help pay for the budget plan, lawmakers are considering ways to squeeze more from taxes on oil and gas production, an option that has divided politicians and one of the state’s biggest industries.

Continue Reading

With Pruitt Leading EPA, Oklahoma Oil Firm Gains Ground in Fight Against Regulation

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifying at a Jan. 18 confirmation hearing on his nomination as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

C-SPAN

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifying at a Jan. 18 confirmation hearing on his nomination as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Shortly after taking over as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt started a roll-back of Obama-era environmental regulations, an effort that has provided big benefits to one of his home state’s largest independent oil and gas companies, the New York Times reports.

Pruitt has long maintained a close relationship with Devon Energy, which evolved from a minor political player to a major lobbying force during the Obama administration. With Pruitt leading EPA, Devon is making headway in its fight against federal environmental regulation, Hiroko Tabuchi and Eric Lipton report:

In a gas field here in Wyoming’s struggling energy corridor, nearly 2,000 miles from Washington, the Trump administration’s regulatory reversal is crowning an early champion.

Devon Energy, which runs the windswept site, had been prepared to install a sophisticated system to detect and reduce leaks of dangerous gases. It had also discussed paying a six-figure penalty to settle claims by the Obama administration that it was illegally emitting 80 tons each year of hazardous chemicals, like benzene, a known carcinogen. Continue Reading

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education