Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

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Why Oklahoma and Other Red States Might Pump Up Gasoline Taxes to Fill Budget Holes

An abandoned gas station near Edmond, Okla.

Michael Kesler / Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

An abandoned gas station near Edmond, Okla.

Oklahoma lawmakers are staring into a budget hole that’s nearly $900 million deep — and they might not be able to cut their way out of it. Legislators are considering tax increases to help fund state government, and one idea is gaining traction: Hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel.

State taxes on motor fuel haven’t been touched since 1987. There are a lot of similarities between the situation then and what Oklahoma lawmakers now face: An economy shaken by low oil prices and dwindling revenue streams to fund state government. Continue Reading

Trump’s Nomination of Pruitt to EPA Casts Spotlight On States’ Crusade Against Federal ‘Overreach’

scott-pruitt2014-1_WEB

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Donald Trump wants Scott Pruitt to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Oklahoma attorney general is a fierce ally of fossil fuel companies and one of the EPA’s biggest opponents. The nomination draws a sharp line dividing industry and environmentalists that could test the limits of another big fight: state sovereignty.

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From State Park to Hotel-Casino: Texoma Residents Eager for Private Progress But Question Public Process

Lake Texoma State Park is still open to the public, but much of it has been sold to Pointe Vista, which demolished the outdated lodge seven years ago.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lake Texoma State Park is still open to the public, but much of it has been sold to Pointe Vista, which demolished the outdated lodge seven years ago.

It’s been 10 years since the state of Oklahoma sold hundreds of acres at Texoma State Park to a private developer that never fulfilled its promise to build an elaborate lakeside resort. Now the Chickasaw Nation is stepping in to bring some economic activity back to the area.

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From Closed Doors to Open Arms, Oklahoma Oil Industry Optimistic About Business Under President Trump

Donald Trump campaigning at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

Donald Trump campaigning at an immigration policy speech at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

From board rooms to drilling rigs, much of the U.S. fossil fuel industry has been counting down the days until President Barack Obama turns over the keys of the White House. Donald Trump doesn’t officially take the wheel of the nation’s energy policy for a couple of months, but Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry says its prospects have already improved under the president-elect.


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A Conversation With Oklahoma’s Long-Time Water Boss

Former Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director and new Department of Wildlife Conservation Director J.D. Strong.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Former Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director and new Department of Wildlife Conservation Director J.D. Strong.

J.D. Strong has been an influential leader in Oklahoma water issues for many years, and served as Executive Director of the state water regulator since 2010. Earlier this year he left the Water Resources Board to head the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

StateImpact talked to Strong in his new office to talk about the water challenges that remain and the issues facing wildlife conservation that are now his problem.

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A Field Guide to State Question 777: StateImpact’s Documentary on OK’s Agricultural Ballot Measure

Sarah, Dave and Barbara Jacques on their farm and ranch in Osage County. The Jacques family strongly supports a 'yes' vote on State Question 777.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Sarah Vap and her parents, Dave and Barbara Jacques on their farm and ranch in Osage County. The Jacques family strongly supports a 'yes' vote on State Question 777.

When Oklahoma voters go to the polls next week, they’ll decide on State Question 777, known by supporters as the right-to-farm amendment. The measure would make farming and ranching a constitutional right and make it harder for the Legislature to enact laws that further regulate the agriculture industry.

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The Legal Complications of Oklahoma’s State Question to Constitutionally Protect Farming

Goats on a farm near Covington, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Goats on a farm near Covington, Okla.

State Question 777 would create a constitutional right to farm and ranch in Oklahoma, giving the agriculture industry unique protection from the state legislature. The ballot question concerns livestock and crops, but legal experts say the statewide measure will likely come down to lawsuits and courts.

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