Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Logan Layden

Logan Layden is a native of McAlester, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 and spent three years as a state capitol reporter and local host of All Things Considered for NPR member station KGOU in Norman.

  • Email: loganlayden@ou.edu

As Oklahoma Officials Resist, Utilities On Path to Comply With Federal Emission Cuts

Northeast Station Manager Mark Barton at the base of the stack for coal-fired power units 3 and 4.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Northeast station manager Mark Barton at the base of the stack for coal-fired power units 3 and 4.

Oklahoma officials are fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the Obama’s administration’s new Clean Power Plan, the federal government’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But Oklahoma’s largest electric utilities have a big head start cutting back on coal, and are already on their way to compliance.

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‘Godzilla’ El Niño has Oklahoma Farmers Excited But Guarded

A scene from 1967's "Son of Godzilla."

TOHO/SONY PICTURES

A scene from 1967's "Son of Godzilla."

This year’s El Niño might be the strongest ever. The phenomenon — marked by unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America — means more precipitation could be on the way for Oklahoma. The state’s wheat farmers are hopeful, but know too much rain at the wrong time can be ruinous.

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Obama’s Clean Power Plan: Oklahoma Officials Attack, Utilities on Path to Comply

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla.

Even before the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan was finalized, politicians in Oklahoma were already fighting it in the court of public opinion, and in real court, too. And Gov. Mary Fallin has vowed that Oklahoma will not submit a state compliance plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But as Paul Monies with The Oklahoman reports, Oklahoma’s largest utility companies say they’re already on track to meet the carbon-reduction goals in the federal plan: Continue Reading

Oklahoma Beekeepers, Farmers Discuss Balancing Hive Health and Crop Protection

Beekeeper Tim McCoy removes a rogue honeybees have from an electrical box in farmland near Weatherford, Okla in this June 2015 photo.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Beekeeper Tim McCoy removes a rogue honeybees have from an electrical box in farmland near Weatherford, Okla in this June 2015 photo.

Oklahoma lost a greater percentage of its honeybee colonies than any other state over the last year. On Tuesday, beekeepers, scientists, and farmers gathered at Langston University’s Oklahoma City campus to give their input on a plan to better protect pollinators of all kinds.

The discussion centered on balancing the need to apply pesticides to crops, with the dangers those chemicals pose to pollinating insects. The main point of contention was whether to make the location of managed colonies available online. It would allow pesticide applicators to avoid bees, but would also let potential thieves to know exactly where the valuable hives are. Continue Reading

One Rainy Spring Not Enough To Stop Aquifer Declines in Oklahoma

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.

Almost half of the water used by Oklahomans comes from aquifers, and four years of drought increased that reliance. This year’s record-setting rainfall filled up the state’s lakes, but recharging aquifers doesn’t happen so quickly.

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Oklahoma Officials Vow To Keep Fighting Obama Plan To Cut Power Plant Pollution

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finalized its Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s attempt to cut carbon emissions from power plants by more than 30 percent nationwide.

Though just finalized, the plan has been in the works for two years, and Oklahoma officials have opposed it every step of the way. Continue Reading

Why Thawing Relations With Cuba Could Be A Boon To Oklahoma Wheat Farmers

Workers harvesting wheat on a farm near Altus, Okla., in June 2015.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Workers harvesting wheat on a farm near Altus, Okla., in June 2015.

The decades-old embargo on trade with communist Cuba cuts U.S. goods off from what would be one of their nearest international destinations. That could be changing now that the two countries are restoring diplomatic relations.

And as The Oklahoman business writer Leilah Naifeh reports, Oklahoma’s wheat farmers stand to benefit. A lot. Continue Reading

Oklahoma’s Economically Vital Seaport Still Struggling After Rains Scuttle Shipping

Port of Catoosa Deputy Director David Yarbrough stands at the across the the port's main dock, where a barge is being unloaded.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Port of Catoosa Deputy Director David Yarbrough stands at the across the the port's main dock, where a barge is being unloaded.

Two and a half million tons of wheat, fertilizer, steel, and manufacturing goods pass through the Port of Catoosa each year.

But not in 2015. The nation’s most inland seaport, located near Tulsa, shut down after historic spring rains and is still struggling to rebound.

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Emails Reveal Fallin Didn’t Want To Face Connection Between Quakes, Oil Industry

Oil-field workers tend to American Energy-Woodford's Judge South well in November 2014 well shortly after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered it temporarily shut-in.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil-field workers tend to American Energy-Woodford's Judge South well in November 2014 well shortly after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered it temporarily shut-in.

In November 2011, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Prague, Okla., causing significant damage and injuring two people. Right away, the possibility that the disposal of wastewater by injecting it deep into the earth — part of the hydraulic fracturing process — was to blame came up.

But EnergyWire‘s Mike Soraghan routed through thousand of emails and documents he got from Fallin’s office through the Oklahoma Open Records Act, and found that the governor was in no rush to point the finger at the oil and gas industry: Continue Reading

“Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Sues EPA – Again”

Last week, Pruitt sued over the EPA’s not yet finalized Clean Power Plan. This week he’s suing of the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule. He recently got a victory in his fight against the federal agency, when the U.S. Supreme Court delayed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in June.


Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, this time over the definition of water. Pruitt’s lawsuit, filed in Tulsa federal court, claims that a new rule promulgated June 29 illegally redefined the “waters of the United States” in a move that he described as executive overreach and flatly contrary to the will of Congress.

Read more at: www.tulsaworld.com

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