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

McManus: Oklahoma’s Sporadic Winter Suggests Dry, Warm March

Oklahoma drought conditions as of February 21, 2017

U.S. Drought Monitor

Oklahoma drought conditions as of February 21, 2017

Frigid temperatures never fully took hold in Oklahoma this winter. February saw record high temperatures, and instead of ice and snow, wildfires were the main weather-related concern, and drought — though improved — has persisted across much of the state.

In a statement summarizing February’s weather highlights and looking ahead to March, State Climatologist Gary McManus says the first two months of 2017 broke the record for the warmest combined January and February in state history. Continue Reading

To Keep Future Droughts at Bay, Oklahoma Looks to Store Water Underground Before it Flows Away

Mill Creek, southwest of Ada's Byrd's Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma, also originates from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Mill Creek, southwest of Ada's Byrd's Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma, also originates from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells. The Water Resources Board this week approved new rules to allow water to be stored underground, in aquifers.

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Rep. Leslie Osborn On GRDA: Should We Be In The Electric Utility Business?

Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, the new chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Rep. Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, the new chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.

State Representative Leslie Osborn is the new chair of the powerful House Appropriations and Budget Committee, an influential position that gives her bills extra weight. StateImpact talked to Osborn about legislation she’s pushing to increase mining fees, and to explore the sale of the Grand River Dam Authority.


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Oklahoma Under Rare National Fire Advisory As Drought Envelops State

Oklahoma Army Guardsmen were called out to support local firefighters in Edmond on January 24. Eight Soldiers on two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters equipped with Bambi Buckets flew nearly three hours and dropped 30 buckets, releasing around 19,800 gallons of water on a wildfire that engulfed houses in the area.

Oklahoma National Guard / Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Oklahoma Army Guardsmen were called out to support local firefighters in Edmond on January 24. Eight Soldiers on two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters equipped with Bambi Buckets flew nearly three hours and dropped 30 buckets, releasing around 19,800 gallons of water on a wildfire that engulfed houses in the area.

With 95-percent of the state under drought conditions, Oklahoma has been issued its first ever national fire advisory from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The advisory lasts for two weeks — into mid-February — and warns, as The Associated Press’ Justin Juozapavicius reports, “the ingredients for a potentially disastrous fire outbreak are already in place.” Continue Reading

Cherokee Nation Preserves Food Culture by Freezing History

Biologist and Cherokee Nation Administrative Liaison Pat Gwin removes white eagle corn seeds from the seed bank freezer at Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Biologist and Cherokee Nation Administrative Liaison Pat Gwin removes white eagle corn seeds from the seed bank freezer at Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah, Okla.

Before the Cherokee people were forced from their lands in the eastern U.S. along the Trail of Tears, the tribe grew varieties of crops now nearly lost. But at the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank in Tahlequah, Okla., a vital part of the tribe’s history is kept frozen.

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Obama Signs Bill That Officially Ends Southeast Oklahoma’s Tribal Water Fight

A sign along Oklahoma Highway 43 near Sardis Lake.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A sign along Oklahoma Highway 43 near Sardis Lake.

President Barack Obama on Friday signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which passed the U.S. Senate in the wee hours Saturday morning. The $10 billion federal bill directs money to Oklahoma to help fix and address multiple water-related problems and issues across the state.

The bill’s signing brings a formal conclusion to the years long dispute between the state and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations over control of water in Sardis Lake and across southeast Oklahoma. Continue Reading

Oklahoma Lawmakers Consider Selling Power Plants To Fill Budget Hole

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.

Oil prices are on the rebound, which should eventually generate revenue and help Oklahoma’s state budget situation. Still, another budget hole — that could be as large as $600 million — will likely have to be filled during the 2017 legislative session. One emerging idea that could put an extra billion dollars in state coffers: Selling the Grand River Dam Authority. Continue Reading

From State Park to Hotel-Casino: Texoma Residents Eager for Private Progress But Question Public Process

Lake Texoma State Park is still open to the public, but much of it has been sold to Pointe Vista, which demolished the outdated lodge seven years ago.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lake Texoma State Park is still open to the public, but much of it has been sold to Pointe Vista, which demolished the outdated lodge seven years ago.

It’s been 10 years since the state of Oklahoma sold hundreds of acres at Texoma State Park to a private developer that never fulfilled its promise to build an elaborate lakeside resort. Now the Chickasaw Nation is stepping in to bring some economic activity back to the area.

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