Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

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Bethany Sues Aerospace Firms, Claiming Contamination Poses Public Water ‘Emergency’


The City of Bethany is suing a pair of aerospace companies after a “plume” of hazardous chemicals migrating from an airport manufacturing plant contaminated public water supplies and forced the city to shut down a pair of municipal water wells. Continue Reading

Inside the Landmark State and Tribal Agreement That Ends Standoff Over Water in Southeast Oklahoma

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby at a news conference announcing the water deal.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby at a news conference announcing the water deal.

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma. Continue Reading

Federal Scientists Worried Oklahomans Were Getting Wrong Message on Earthquakes, Records Show

Shaken residents line up inside Edmond's Waterloo Baptist Church to voice concerns and ask representatives from the Corporation Commission and the state Geological Survey questions about recent earthquakes.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Shaken residents lined up inside Edmond's Waterloo Baptist Church in June 2014 to voice concerns and ask officials questions about Oklahoma's spike in earthquakes.

Federal researchers feared Oklahomans were getting inaccurate information and inadequate warnings from state government scientists and officials tasked with studying and responding to a surge of earthquakes linked to oil and gas activity, a StateImpact investigation has found.

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The Transportation Department’s New Plan for Inspecting Bridges After Earthquakes

A flowchart from ODOT's new manual on inspecting bridges after earthquakes.

A flowchart from ODOT's new manual on inspecting bridges after earthquakes.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has changed its post-earthquake bridge-inspection plan after a year-long study showed no structural damage from seismic activity.

Under the new plan, which went into effect April 1, ODOT will only inspect bridges after magnitude 4.7 or greater quakes. Regions where bridge inspections are required will expand as earthquake intensity increases: Continue Reading

Oklahoma Has Highest Potential for Earthquakes, New USGS Forecast Shows

The U.S. Geological Survey on Monday released for the first time maps that forecast regions that could experience damage from human-triggered earthquakes. Oklahoma has the highest risk for potential shaking, researchers say. Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Threaten Energy Companies With Lawsuit Over Earthquakes


Environmental groups are threatening to file a federal lawsuit against four Oklahoma energy companies over earthquakes linked to oil and gas activity. Continue Reading

State Authorities Broaden Disposal Well Regulations in Earthquake-Prone Regions

Oklahoma oil and gas authorities are expanding regulations on disposal wells in earthquake-prone regions of the state. The orders, known as directives, were issued this week and broaden restrictions issued nearly four months ago. Continue Reading

Regulators Close Tecumseh Landfill After Finding Fires, Leaks and Pools of Blood

State environmental regulators shuttered a landfill near Tecumseh in May “after years of ongoing problems” that included multiple fires, dead animals and pools of standing blood, The Oklahoman‘s Brianna Bailey reports. Continue Reading

A Snapshot of the Oil Industry’s Response to State’s Earthquake-Related Well Orders

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission in March ordered the operators of nearly 350 disposal wells to prove their operations weren’t allowing waste fluid to be pumped into a rock formation known to produce earthquakes.

The Corporation Commission has not provided comprehensive records or data related to the operators’ responses to the March directives despite multiple requests by StateImpact. Today, the commission issued a statement that provides a snapshot of the industry’s response to the directives:

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State Seismologist: Oklahoma Earthquakes ‘Very Likely’ Triggered by Oil and Gas Disposal Wells

The offices of Gov. Mary Fallin and the Secretary of Energy and Environment debuted a new web portal, earthquakes.ok.gov, to serve as a "one-stop-shop" for quake research and regulatory news.

The offices of Gov. Mary Fallin and the Secretary of Energy and Environment debuted a new web portal, earthquakes.ok.gov, to serve as a "one-stop-shop" for quake research and regulatory news.

Disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry are ‘very likely’ responsible for the recent surge of earthquakes in Oklahoma, the state seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday.

“Based on observed seismicity rates and geographical trends following major oil and gas plays with large amounts of produced water, the rates and trends in seismicity are very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process,” state seismologist Austin Holland and agency interim director Richard D. Andrews writes in a joint statement. Continue Reading

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