Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People


The economic and environmental impact of Oklahoma’s energy industry.

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Gov. Fallin Taps Emergency Account to Fund Research and Regulation of Oil-Linked Earthquakes

Gov. Mary Fallin and Michael Teague, Secretary of Energy and Environment, talk to reporters at the Governor's Energy Conference in 2014.

The money is going to a pair of agencies tasked with researching the earthquake surge and regulating the oil and gas activities likely causing it.

The multi-agency effort to rein in Oklahoma’s earthquake boom has been hampered for years with incomplete information about faults and formations, and inconsistent data from the operators of disposal wells linked to the shaking.

Oil-Field Tax Break Authored by Senate President Benefits His Employer

An obscure sales tax break authored by Sen. Brian Bingman is “subsidizing an expensive form of enhanced oil recovery for seven companies, including the senator’s employer,” Oklahoma Watch reports. The tax break on electricity used to power old “waterflood” recovery projects was authored in 2005 by now-Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa. The first [...]

After Weeks of Resistance, Oklahoma Oil Company Agrees to Shut Down Wells Near Earthquakes

A SandRidge Energy well in northwestern Oklahoma.

SandRidge Energy has agreed to shutter some disposal wells in earthquake-prone northern Oklahoma in a settlement that avoids legal action by state oil and gas regulators. Financially strapped SandRidge had defied directives from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to voluntary shut down disposal wells in shaky areas near the towns of Byron, Cherokee and Medford. The [...]

Edmond Residents Latest to Sue Oil and Gas Companies Over Earthquake

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

Fourteen Edmond residents filed a lawsuit Monday against a dozen oil and gas companies, “claiming their saltwater disposal wells were in part to blame for earthquakes that hit central Oklahoma in recent weeks,” The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports. The lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, said the companies acted negligently and their use of [...]

Oilfield Truck Crashes in Oklahoma Kill and Injure Dozens in Recent Years

Thirty-six people in Oklahoma have died in crashes “involving trucks hauling oilfield wastewater and equipment” over the last eight years, The Frontier and News9 report. Data show that 7 percent of all truck companies licensed for oil-field work in Oklahoma have been involved in fatal accidents, including crashes blamed on “bad brakes, trucks thousands of [...]

State Readying Legal Challenge to Oil Company Refusing to Shut Down Wells Near Earthquakes

State oil and gas authorities are finalizing legal action to force a “financially strapped” Oklahoma energy company to abandon disposal wells suspected of contributing to earthquakes. Sandridge Energy has been defying directives from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to shut down six disposal wells in north-central Oklahoma. Commission staff are finalizing a legal filing that, if [...]

Debate Over Tariff Exposes Rift on Cost of Electricity and Value of Solar Energy

Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists

Oklahoma Gas and Electric, the state’s largest electricity utility, wants regulators to approve new fees for customers who install solar panels. The request is now in the hands of Oklahoma’s three-member Corporation Commission, which has to weigh the real cost of reliable electricity and put a fair value on power from the sun.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Sues Chesapeake Energy for ‘Deceptive’ Gas Leases

Chesapeake Energy's Oklahoma City headquarters.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Chesapeake Energy, seeking millions of dollars for landowners who leased land to the Oklahoma City company, our partners at StateImpact Pennsylvania report. From Marie Cusick: The Oklahoma City-based driller is one of the most active in Pennsylvania. It was an early adopter of fracking and [...]

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