Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

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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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Action To Protect Small Creek Pits Mining Companies Against Oklahoma Community Worried About Water Supply

Rancher and water advocate Gary Greene owns land near Pennington Creek.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Rancher and water advocate Gary Greene owns land near Pennington Creek.

Pennington Creek in south-central Oklahoma is the only source of drinking water for the town of Tishomingo. Residents there are worried limestone mining operations threaten the creek. Now, the city council is taking on the companies doing the digging.

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As State Budgets Falter, Oklahoma Turns to Other States to Fight Its Most Dangerous Wildfires

Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.

Crews have worked for more than a week to contain a massive wildfire that has torched more than a thousand square miles and killed one person and thousands of head of livestock in northwestern parts of Oklahoma. State budget cuts mean Oklahoma increasingly depends on other states to fight its largest and most dangerous wildfires.

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Oklahoma Bill To Protect ‘Critical Infrastructure’ Could Curb Public Protest, Critics Say

A field medic raises her fist as protestors stand near a fire blocking a road along the Dakota Access Pipeline Route near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.

Avery White / Oceti Sakowin Camp/CC BY-NC 2.0

A field medic raises her fist as protestors stand near a fire blocking a road along the Dakota Access Pipeline Route near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.

Oklahoma legislators are advancing a bill that outlaws trespassing on sites containing “critical infrastructure.” Supporters say the measure will help prevent damage and disruption of energy markets, electric grids and water services, but environmental activists and civil rights groups say the bill’s real purpose is to block political protests of pipelines and similar projects.

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To Keep Future Droughts at Bay, Oklahoma Looks to Store Water Underground Before it Flows Away

Mill Creek, southwest of Ada's Byrd's Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma, also originates from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Mill Creek, southwest of Ada's Byrd's Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma, also originates from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells. The Water Resources Board this week approved new rules to allow water to be stored underground, in aquifers.

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