Oklahoma

Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

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AG Sued For More Records After Releasing Suppressed Audit That Found Evidence of Conspiracy At Tar Creek

A worker brushes dusty mine waste off a truck before it exits a field at the Tar Creek Superfund in northeastern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A worker brushes dusty mine waste off a truck before it exits a field at the Tar Creek Superfund in northeastern Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter on Monday released an audit and other documents related to a corruption probe his office fought to keep secret.

The records stem from an investigation launched in 2011 of the Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust, which was set up to buy contaminated properties and relocate residents near the Tar Creek Superfund site, a former lead and zinc mine in northeastern Oklahoma.

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Experts Say Oklahoma’s Opioid Plan Does Little to Expand Treatment

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Janet Cizek, CEO of the Center for Therapeutic Interventions in Tulsa speaks to an employee.

Drug overdose deaths in Oklahoma increased 91 percent over the last decade and a half, prompting the state to form a task force charged with a daunting goal: Brainstorm a plan to guide the state out of an opioid epidemic that kills three Oklahomans nearly every day.

The Commission on Opioid Abuse released its final report in January.

“The sort of clear and present danger is overprescribing and oversupply, and that was the focus of what we looked at,” Attorney General Mike Hunter, who headed the nine-member commission, said in an interview with StateImpact. Continue Reading

Industry Group Challenges Proposed Ballot Question To Raise Oil And Gas Taxes

The state's largest industry group has mounted a two-pronged legal challenge to the proposed SQ 795.

The state's largest industry group has mounted a two-pronged legal challenge to the proposed SQ 795.

The Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association on Wednesday filed two separate state Supreme Court challenges to a proposed state question that would ask voters to end industry discounts and impose a broad 7 percent tax on oil and gas production to fund teacher pay raises and early childhood education.

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Budget Uncertainty Leaves Seniors and Oklahomans With Disabilities In Limbo

Lori Taylor reads the second letter she received from the state Department of Human Services informing her that her Medicaid waiver program will be funded temporarily.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lori Taylor reads the second letter she received from the state Department of Human Services informing her that her Medicaid waiver program will be funded temporarily.

After her divorce, Lori Taylor wanted a home all her own. She moved back to Oklahoma to be near her aging parents, but she had a problem. For years her personal caregiver had been her now ex-husband.

“I have cerebral palsy and that’s brain damage that I incurred at birth, and it affects my motor skills. I’m confined to an electric wheelchair. I can stand but I can’t walk, I have very limited use of my arms,” Taylor says, sitting in the living room of her Norman apartment.

She is able to live alone because of a form of Medicaid known in Oklahoma as the ADvantage waiver program. It’s called a waiver because it diverts Medicaid funds that would normally pay for institutional care like hospitals or nursing homes to pay for in-home support services. Waiver programs are popular in many states because they are more cost effective – nursing homes are expensive, and for the same amount of money the state can help more people live at home.

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What Scientists Say A Warming Climate Might Mean For Oklahoma

Volunteer firefighters Christie Smith and David Thompson cool down after extinguishing a hotspot that flared east of Noble, Okla., in 2012. Scientists expect the risk of wildfire to increase as climate change-fueled droughts occur more frequently and last longer.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Volunteer firefighters Christie Smith and David Thompson cool down after extinguishing a hotspot that flared east of Noble, Okla., in 2012. Scientists expect the risk of wildfire to increase as climate change-fueled droughts occur more frequently and last longer.

A new report from hundreds of experts and more than a dozen federal agencies is stark: Humans are likely responsible for the warmest period in modern civilization.

The consequences of this warming vary regionally, but scientists and researchers forecast significant effects in Oklahoma and other southern plains states.

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