More than 500 Oklahoma employees of Chesapeake Energy are out of a job following the latest layoffs Sept. 29th, as oil prices stay below $50 a barrel. Gasoline is cheap, but that relief at the pump can fuel widespread worry about Oklahoma’s oil and gas-reliant economy. Continue Reading
Oklahoma County District Judge Barbara Swinton on Wednesday ordered the long disputed limits on how much water can be taken from one of the state’s most sensitive aquifers — the Arbuckle-Simpson in south-central Oklahoma — to go forward.
The court was hearing an appeal of the limit from groups including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, and mining company TXI — all petitioners in the case. Continue Reading
Generations of tilling and planting on the same land have left Oklahoma’s soil in poor shape. And if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, feeding the future won’t be easy. As Slapout, Okla., farmer Jordan Shearer puts it: “We’re creating a desert environment by plowing the damn ground.”
The company that runs Hugo’s water treatment plant is contesting the $3.17 million fine the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality levied against it for — as the Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reported in August — not using “enough chlorine for more than 300 days over the course of two years.” Continue Reading
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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