Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

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Why Obama’s Clean Power Plan Could Mean Opportunity for Some Industries in Oklahoma

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.

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan enraged many top officials in Oklahoma, who argued the rules were an expensive, unnecessary overreach by the federal government.

But the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could create opportunities in Oklahoma, researchers and officials say.

 

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‘Godzilla’ El Niño has Oklahoma Farmers Excited But Guarded

A scene from 1967's "Son of Godzilla."

TOHO/SONY PICTURES

A scene from 1967's "Son of Godzilla."

This year’s El Niño might be the strongest ever. The phenomenon — marked by unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America — means more precipitation could be on the way for Oklahoma. The state’s wheat farmers are hopeful, but know too much rain at the wrong time can be ruinous.

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Regulation Accelerates as Officials Move from Hesitation to ‘Direct Correlation’ on Oil-Linked Earthquakes

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking to the media after an earthquake council meeting in August 2015.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking to the media after an earthquake council meeting in August 2015.

In the five years since earthquakes first began blitzing Oklahoma, state officials have been hesitant to agree with scientists who blamed the oil and gas industry.

While the shaking doesn’t appear to be slowing, the regulatory response is now quickly ramping up.

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One Rainy Spring Not Enough To Stop Aquifer Declines in Oklahoma

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.

Almost half of the water used by Oklahomans comes from aquifers, and four years of drought increased that reliance. This year’s record-setting rainfall filled up the state’s lakes, but recharging aquifers doesn’t happen so quickly.

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Oklahoma’s Economically Vital Seaport Still Struggling After Rains Scuttle Shipping

Port of Catoosa Deputy Director David Yarbrough stands at the across the the port's main dock, where a barge is being unloaded.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Port of Catoosa Deputy Director David Yarbrough stands at the across the the port's main dock, where a barge is being unloaded.

Two and a half million tons of wheat, fertilizer, steel, and manufacturing goods pass through the Port of Catoosa each year.

But not in 2015. The nation’s most inland seaport, located near Tulsa, shut down after historic spring rains and is still struggling to rebound.

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Years After Earthquake, Oklahoma College Still Shaken by Cracked Budgets and Broken Buildings

Abbot Lawrence points out cracks in

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Monastery traces cracks in the walls of the monk's workshop, which was damaged in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby city of Prague in November 2011.

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma appears to be accelerating, and the state is responding.

Lawmakers have scheduled capitol hearings and oil and gas regulators will soon issue stricter guidelines on disposal wells linked to the shaking. Future earthquakes are a big concern, but one Oklahoma institution is still dealing with the damage one quake caused nearly four years ago.

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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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As Communities Prepare for New State Fracking Rules, One City Will Wait and See

donkey-head

Sarah Nichols / Flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin signed controversial legislation in May outlawing municipal bans on fracking and other oil and gas activities. Officials in some communities are re-examining their local drilling ordinances to comply with the law, which goes into effect later this summer.

One city in southeastern Oklahoma, however, isn’t budging.

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