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.
Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma is getting some attention from the national news media for a weird looking hole with an obvious explanation.
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
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.
The $7.1 billion state budget Governor Mary Fallin signed in June 2015 included deep cuts to the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation — the agency that runs the state park system. That could mean some parks will have to be closed or transferred to new operators, and some eastern Oklahoma lawmakers are fuming.
“Calculating losses?” [Robert Stelle] said. ”That is wasting my time. Crop insurance isn’t readily available or easily affordable. Seeds are cheap, so you start over.”
When Governor Mary Fallin signed the $7.1 billion budget earlier this week, the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission took a big cut. It’s a small state agency with a big job: overseeing hundreds of miles of river and roads in northeast Oklahoma with dwindling resources.
Given the choice between the crippling drought of the past nearly 5 years and the ongoing threat of flooding Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are currently dealing with, Chris Kirby with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission says she’ll take the rain every time.
“I’ve heard some people say, ‘well, I don’t want to complain about the rain, because the last time I did, it quit raining for six years,” Kirby tells StateImpact.
But flooding has becoming a big problem for the agriculture industry, and, as The Oklahoman‘s Silas Allen reports, is cutting into what was expected to be a much better wheat crop compared to the past few years: Continue Reading
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Waters of the United States Rule — also known as the Clean Water Rule — attempts to clarify which bodies of water qualify for federal protection — which ones are streams, which ones are tributaries, whether pollution dumped into one stream will trickle into another — that sort of thing.
But what the EPA says is nothing more than a tweak to current rules that farmers won’t event notice, opponents say is a vast federal government overreach that will extend to every pond and ditch in the country. Continue Reading
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