Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

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Regulator Says Budget Cuts Could Imperil Vital Water-Monitoring Programs

Jet Stein with the OWRB's lake monitoring program prepares to test the water at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jet Stein with the OWRB's lake monitoring program prepares to test the water at Lake Hefner in Oklahoma City.

Water contaminated by algae blooms or choked by sediment and pollutants kills wildlife and isn’t healthy for humans. It’s up to the state to make sure Oklahoma’s lakes and rivers are safe, but budget cuts are threatening that mission, officials say.


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Budget Crisis Could Hinder State’s Ability to Manage Floods and Protect Streams

Children play in a small tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla., in May 2015.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Children play in a small tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla., in May 2015.

Oil and gas are endangering the Oklahoma’s streams, soil and wetlands. Not by polluting them, but because plummeting oil prices have blown a billion-dollar hole in the state’s budget. Funding cuts at agencies that manage Oklahoma’s natural resources could threaten the state’s beauty, as well as people’s lives and property, officials say.


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From Revenue Failure to Right-To-Farm: StateImpact Oklahoma Covers 2016

In January 2015, drought stricken Waurika Lake was dangerously low.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In January 2015, drought stricken Waurika Lake was dangerously low.

There’s a $1 billion hole in the state budget that has consequences for Oklahoma’s environment and natural resources. A controversial state question could pit farmer against farmer. The ground beneath Oklahoma is shaking — figuratively and literally in 2016 — and StateImpact is on it.


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

Bruce Prescott, Executive Director of Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

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.

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Bigfoot is Scaring Up Stories and Tourism Dollars in Southeastern Oklahoma

Charles Benton, who claims to have seen Bigfoot, stands with a statue of the creature in front of Janet's Treasure Chest in Honobia, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Charles Benton, who claims to have seen Bigfoot, stands with a statue of the creature in front of Janet's Treasure Chest in Honobia, Okla.

The stories go back for generations. Reports of something not quite human in the wooded hills of far southeastern Oklahoma. The legend of Bigfoot is growing in McCurtain County — and attracting tourists.


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A Conversation With U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe About the Paris Climate Conference

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma.

President Obama and delegates from nearly 200 nations are gathering in Paris to hammer out an agreement to rein in global climate change

World leaders are acknowledging their countries’ contributions to climate change, and are making commitments to improve the environment. But there’s an army of Republicans pushing against Obama’s Paris plan, and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma is one of its generals.


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Southwest Oklahoma Cities Turn to Dredging as Silt Slowly Strangles Lakes

Dave Taylor, director of the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District, checks on one of the water pumps at the lake's pump house, which send water to communities like Lawton and Duncan.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Dave Taylor, director of the Waurika Lake Master Conservancy District, checks on one of the water pumps at the lake's pump house, which send water to communities like Lawton and Duncan.

Oklahoma’s lakes weren’t built to last forever. Over time, dirt and debris are slowly filling them in. Right now, there’s no good way to solve the problem, but cities that rely on Waurika Lake are turning to costly and complicated efforts to save their water supply from silt.

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