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

‘Mad Scientists’ at Oklahoma March Urge Lawmakers to Stop Underfunding and Undermining Research

Oklahomans joined thousands of people in more than 600 cities on Saturday in a march for scientific freedom organized to send a message to state and national lawmakers. Continue Reading

Energy Industry Divided as Public Calls to Increase Oil and Gas Taxes Grow Louder

Lights from a drilling rig near Watonga, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lights from a drilling rig near Watonga, Okla.

The 2017 legislative session is beyond the halfway point and the clock is ticking on lawmakers who have until the end of May to set the state’s budget and plug an $870 million funding hole. Legislators say every option is on the table, including one with growing public support: Increasing taxes on oil and gas.

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‘Oklahoma Governor to Decide Fate of Wind Energy Tax Credits’

A bill that brings an early end to the last major tax incentive for the wind industry has cleared its last legislative hurdle and now awaits Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature.

Oklahoma governor to decide fate of wind energy tax credits

Leadership in both chambers have praised the bill, citing it as one way the state can reclaim revenue in future budget years. Oklahoma law allows owners of wind turbines that begin operation before 2021 to claim a credit on the income earned from energy production. HB 2298 would end the credit July 1 … Continue Reading

E&E News: ‘Bar Complaint Filed Against Pruitt Over Emails’

The Center for Biological Diversity and University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen van de Biezenbos filed a grievance with the Oklahoma Bar Association over U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing testimony regarding his use of personal email when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, E&E News reports:

EPA: Bar complaint filed against Pruitt over emails

They argue Pruitt violated professional conduct rules by saying at the hearing that he only used his work email for official business as the state’s attorney general. Subsequently, emails released under open records litigation show that Pruitt had used personal email for work purposes. Continue Reading

As State Budgets Falter, Oklahoma Turns to Other States to Fight Its Most Dangerous Wildfires

Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.

Crews have worked for more than a week to contain a massive wildfire that has torched more than a thousand square miles and killed one person and thousands of head of livestock in northwestern parts of Oklahoma. State budget cuts mean Oklahoma increasingly depends on other states to fight its largest and most dangerous wildfires.

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