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

Record Rainfall Magnifies Problems For Oklahoma’s Aging Flood Control Dams

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.

More than 2,000 dams in Oklahoma have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up with them, and many need repairs. And this spring’s record rainfall is putting dams under even more pressure.

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State Seismologist Austin Holland Leaves Oklahoma For USGS Job In New Mexico

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland.

As Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm developed over the past few years, State Seismologist Austin Holland’s work days got a lot longer. That’s the main reason Holland is leaving his position in Oklahoma to be a supervisory geophysicist at the Albuquerque Seismic Lab.

From The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies:

“I have averaged about 80 hours each week for the 5 1/2 years I’ve been here,” Holland said Monday in an emailed statement. “I want to change my work-life balance, and this opportunity is a good way to do that.”

Since Holland came to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the state has seen a rapid increase in earthquakes, some of which have been linked to disposal wells used for produced water from oil and gas activity.

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Record Rains Leave Oklahoma’s Inland Seaport Damaged And Dangerous

The Webbers Falls Lock and Dam in May 2015.

usacetulsa / Flickr

The Webbers Falls Lock and Dam in May 2015.

The McClellan-Kerr Navigation System that connects the Port of Catoosa — the nation’s furthest inland seaport — to the Gulf of Mexico is “a hell of a mess” after the area got nearly 20 inches of rain in May and June, port director Bob Portiss tell’s the Tulsa World.

As the Tulsa World‘s Casey Smith reports, shipping barges couldn’t get in or out of the port between May 9 and June 28: Continue Reading

Oklahoma’s Largest Utility Confused As U.S. Supreme Court Scuttles EPA Rule

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.

gmeador / Flickr

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to curb mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country.

Oklahoma joined nearly two dozen other states in the lawsuit against the EPA, claiming the federal agency failed to consider the high cost of complying with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), as The Washington Post‘s Robert Barnes reports: Continue Reading

Why Oklahoma Had the Nation’s Highest Percentage Of Bee Deaths Last Year

Beekeeper Tim McCoy pries a hive of European honeybees out of an electrical box on Ed Crall's property near Weatherford, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Beekeeper Tim McCoy pries a hive of European honeybees out of an electrical box on Ed Crall's property near Weatherford, Okla.

Honeybees are dying at an alarming rate across the country, but no state lost a greater percentage of its bees than Oklahoma over the last year. When it comes to the general public, there’s a lot of mystery around this issue, but the reasons are becoming more clear.

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“There’s a Giant Hole That’s Draining a Lake Like It’s a Bathtub”

Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma is getting some attention from the national news media for a weird looking hole with an obvious explanation.


Like something straight out of the Twilight Zone, a swirling vortex has opened up in a giant lake in Texas. The gaping hole – which appeared recently in Texas’ Lake Texoma – alarmed everyone from Twitter users to the Tulsa District US Army Corps of Engineers, who posted a YouTube video of the vortex.

Read more at: www.businessinsider.com

Closed Shipping Lanes Pose Yet Another Problem For Oklahoma’s Wheat Farmers

The Newt Graham Lock and Dam near Inola, Okla.

Tyler / Flickr

The Newt Graham Lock and Dam near Inola, Okla.

Slow moving storms that dumped record amounts of rain on Oklahoma in April and May killed the five-year drought, but damaged wheat crops in western Oklahoma. This after one of the worst wheat harvests on record in 2014.

Now, as The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, wheat farmers are facing another hurdle: A closed Port of Catoosa on the Arkansas River that usually carries their product to markets outside of Oklahoma. Continue Reading

Why Midwest City and Del City Oppose Norman’s Plan to Reuse Wastewater

Lake Thunderbird, near Norman, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lake Thunderbird, near Norman, Okla.

It was around this time last year that the Norman City Council decided to stake its water future on reuse — sending cleaned wastewater back into Lake Thunderbird, the city’s main water source. It’s an ambitious, future-looking plan Norman Mayor Cindy Rosenthal says is in line with the state’s goal of using no more water in 2060 than it did in 2012.

But Norman isn’t the only city that relies on Lake Thunderbird for its water, and Midwest City and Del City are against the plan, which will make it more difficult to bring the idea before the Department of Environmental Quality for approval.

As The Oklahoman‘s William Crum reports, Rosenthal is calling the two cities’ opposition to the plan premature: Continue Reading

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