Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

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Details of Oklahoma Budget Agreement Conceal Cuts for Oklahoma Environmental Agencies

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam on the bank of the Blue River in south-central Oklahoma.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam on the bank of the Blue River in south-central Oklahoma.

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

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Rye: The Underappreciated “Poverty Grain” Enjoys A Renaissance

J.D. Drennan, senior agronomist for 46 Grain Company, stands in front of the grain elevator at Farmers' Elevator Company in Ames, Oklahoma.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

J.D. Drennan, senior agronomist for 46 Grain Company, stands in front of the grain elevator at Farmers' Elevator Company in Ames, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma rye harvest gets underway within the next few days. Oklahoma is the country’s number one producer of what is occasionally referred to as the ‘poverty grain.’ Rye doesn’t have the best reputation, but demand is on the rise.

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Lawmakers Question Legality of ‘Creative’ Legislation to Squeeze More Revenue from Oil and Gas Taxes

Service companies parked oil-field trucks and other equipment at the state capitol in a public demonstration as legislators debated a measure that would effectively increase taxes some oil and gas producers pay.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Service companies parked oil-field trucks and other equipment at the state capitol in a public demonstration as legislators debated a measure that would effectively increase taxes some oil and gas producers pay.

Oklahoma lawmakers have struggled for months to agree on a formula to patch a nearly $900 million budget hole and sign off on a plan that funds state agencies. To help pay for the budget plan, lawmakers are considering ways to squeeze more from taxes on oil and gas production, an option that has divided politicians and one of the state’s biggest industries.

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Group Defending Vertical Wells Digs In As Major Oil Groups Reach Deal to Expand Horizontal Drilling

Pete Brown of Kingfisher oil company Brown & Borelli and former Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett of Keener Oil and Gas speak out against legislation to expand horizontal drilling at a Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance media event.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Pete Brown of Kingfisher oil company Brown & Borelli and former Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett of Keener Oil and Gas speak out against legislation to expand horizontal drilling at a Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance media event.

Oklahoma oil executives have argued for years over a new law that would let companies drill and frack longer horizontal wells in new areas.

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New Law Plows Funding Path for Locally Grown Food to Fill Urban Grocery Gaps

Sherry Laskey stands near land she bought in a north Tulsa neighborhood. Laskey is hoping to turn the empty lot into a profitable community garden that provides healthy food for the area.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Sherry Laskey stands near land she bought in a north Tulsa neighborhood. Laskey is hoping to turn the empty lot into a profitable community garden that provides healthy food for the area.

Low-income areas of rural Oklahoma are blotched with food deserts, where fresh, healthy food options are scarce. It’s a problem in cities, too, but entrepreneurs, educators and legislators say newly signed legislation could help fill grocery gaps with community gardens.

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Legislature Approves Measure to Lure Healthier Grocery Options to Fill Oklahoma Food Deserts

Geary, Oklahoma, Family Dollar manager Jacquie Hogue running the register in her store.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Geary, Oklahoma, Family Dollar manager Jacquie Hogue running the register in her store.

Heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are epidemic in Oklahoma, and lack of access to fresh, healthy food is a big reason why. Scarcity is most severe in regions known as food deserts, where going to the grocery store often means taking a road trip. But new legislation awaiting the governor’s signature could bring more healthy food to areas that need it.

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Energy Industry Divided as Public Calls to Increase Oil and Gas Taxes Grow Louder

Lights from a drilling rig near Watonga, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lights from a drilling rig near Watonga, Okla.

The 2017 legislative session is beyond the halfway point and the clock is ticking on lawmakers who have until the end of May to set the state’s budget and plug an $870 million funding hole. Legislators say every option is on the table, including one with growing public support: Increasing taxes on oil and gas.

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