Coal Ash Bedevils Oklahoma Town, Revealing Weakness of EPA Rule

Susan Holmes in the living room of her home in Bokoshe, Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Susan Holmes in the living room of her home in Bokoshe, Oklahoma.

This story was co-produced with the Center for Public Integrity.

Here in the land of wind-whipped, rolling plains, the gray dust, which sparkles in just the right light, seems inescapable. Residents of this town near the Arkansas line say they have spotted it on their grass, trees, ponds, barns, furniture and cars.

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Tribe Says Showdown Over Rural Permits Rooted in Politics, Not Water Pipes

J.C. Goodson stands in the warehouse of Rainmaker Sales in Shawnee, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

J.C. Goodson stands in the warehouse of Rainmaker Sales in Shawnee, Okla.

The State of Oklahoma and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation are clashing in court over the growth of a tribally controlled rural water district. The state is questioning the district’s legal status, but tribal leaders suspect the confrontation is about politics — not water pipes.

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Southeast Oklahoma Lawmakers Ask Attorney General to Weigh In On Water Board Beef

Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester

Oklahoma House

Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester

State Rep. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester, and three of his House colleagues on Monday wrote a letter to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt asking for his opinion on whether it’s legal for members of the state Water Resources Board to stay on the OWRB even after their positions have been eliminated.

Renegar wrote on behalf of Representatives Donnie Condit, Ed Cannaday, and Johnny Tadlock, all from southeast Oklahoma:

The language of Senate Bill 965, passed into law in 2013, states that upon expiration (May 2016) of the at-large position presently “held” by Richard Sevenoaks, he will be replaced by a member from the new Southeast Oklahoma District 9.

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Fallin Gave Southeast Oklahoma a Seat on Water Board, But Skips Deadline to Fill It

Atoka Lake in southeast Oklahoma, a focal point of the controversy over who controls water in that part of the state.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Atoka Lake in southeast Oklahoma, a focal point of the controversy over who controls water in that part of the state.

Southeast Oklahoma has many of the state’s largest lakes and rivers and much of the state’s water, but no one from the area serves on the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, the state’s water regulator. A 2013 law requires the area to have representation. But, so far, that hasn’t happened.


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Osage Nation Buys Ted Turner’s Oklahoma Ranch As Part Of Effort To Reclaim County

Bison on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Bison on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Okla. The nearby ranch the Osage Nation is purchasing also has bison.

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear is on a mission. He wants the tribe to buy back as much land as possible in Osage County, where it owns less than 10 percent of the nearly 1.5 million acres it did in the early 1900s.

The latest move in that effort is a big one. As the Tulsa World’s Michael Overall reports, the Osage Nation reached a deal to purchase Ted Turner’s 43,000-acre ranch near Pawhuska: Continue Reading

“Earthquake Insurance is ‘Uncompetitive,’ Says Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner”

Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner has formally declared the state’s market for earthquake insurance is “uncompetitive.” The regulator says Oklahomans are unfairly limited when shopping for quake insurance.


One hundred and nineteen companies sell earthquake insurance in Oklahoma, but Commissioner John Doak says just four companies have controlled more than half the market in recent years. The commissioner says the industry has moved to raise rates and limit coverage as the shaking — linked to oil and gas activity — surged.

Read more at: kosu.org

“OKC Police Find No Indication of McClendon Suicide”

Oklahoma City Police say a two-month investigation into the fiery March 2 crash that killed former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon turned up no evidence of suicide.


“That investigation involved homicide detectives looking into the circumstances that led up to his death,” OCPD Capt. Paco Balderrama said. “After conducting a very thorough investigation, speaking to people who knew him and people who spoke to him prior to the accident, we found no information that would indicate anything other than a vehicular accident.” Balderrama said the investigation was thorough and looked into every possibility. “We may never know with 100 percent certainty, but at the conclusion of our investigation, we had no evidence to believe there were other factors or possibilities,” he said.

Read more at: newsok.com

Oil Companies Ask Judge to Toss Federal Earthquake Lawsuit

Oklahoma oil and gas companies are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by members of an environmental group that seeks to reduce production waste that could be fueling a spike in earthquakes.

The lawsuit was filed under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in February by the Oklahoma chapter of the Sierra Club. Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and New Dominion have all asked the judge to dismiss the case, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

In separate legal filings, the three companies said the Oklahoma Corporation Commission is already taking action to reduce the volumes of wastewater in disposal wells. Continue Reading

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