Years After Earthquake, Oklahoma College Still Shaken by Cracked Budgets and Broken Buildings

Abbot Lawrence points out cracks in

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen of St. Gregory's Monastery traces cracks in the walls of the monk's workshop, which was damaged in a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck the nearby city of Prague in November 2011.

The rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma appears to be accelerating, and the state is responding.

Lawmakers have scheduled capitol hearings and oil and gas regulators will soon issue stricter guidelines on disposal wells linked to the shaking. Future earthquakes are a big concern, but one Oklahoma institution is still dealing with the damage one quake caused nearly four years ago.

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Emails Reveal Fallin Didn’t Want To Face Connection Between Quakes, Oil Industry

Oil-field workers tend to American Energy-Woodford's Judge South well in November 2014 well shortly after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered it temporarily shut-in.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil-field workers tend to American Energy-Woodford's Judge South well in November 2014 well shortly after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered it temporarily shut-in.

In November 2011, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Prague, Okla., causing significant damage and injuring two people. Right away, the possibility that the disposal of wastewater by injecting it deep into the earth — part of the hydraulic fracturing process — was to blame came up.

But EnergyWire‘s Mike Soraghan routed through thousand of emails and documents he got from Fallin’s office through the Oklahoma Open Records Act, and found that the governor was in no rush to point the finger at the oil and gas industry: Continue Reading

“Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt Sues EPA – Again”

Last week, Pruitt sued over the EPA’s not yet finalized Clean Power Plan. This week he’s suing of the ‘Waters of the United States’ rule. He recently got a victory in his fight against the federal agency, when the U.S. Supreme Court delayed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards in June.


Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed another lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, this time over the definition of water. Pruitt’s lawsuit, filed in Tulsa federal court, claims that a new rule promulgated June 29 illegally redefined the “waters of the United States” in a move that he described as executive overreach and flatly contrary to the will of Congress.

Read more at: www.tulsaworld.com

Record Rainfall Magnifies Problems For Oklahoma’s Aging Flood Control Dams

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.

More than 2,000 dams in Oklahoma have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up with them, and many need repairs. And this spring’s record rainfall is putting dams under even more pressure.

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State Seismologist Austin Holland Leaves Oklahoma For USGS Job In New Mexico

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Geological Survey seismologist Austin Holland.

As Oklahoma’s earthquake swarm developed over the past few years, State Seismologist Austin Holland’s work days got a lot longer. That’s the main reason Holland is leaving his position in Oklahoma to be a supervisory geophysicist at the Albuquerque Seismic Lab.

From The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies:

“I have averaged about 80 hours each week for the 5 1/2 years I’ve been here,” Holland said Monday in an emailed statement. “I want to change my work-life balance, and this opportunity is a good way to do that.”

Since Holland came to the Oklahoma Geological Survey, the state has seen a rapid increase in earthquakes, some of which have been linked to disposal wells used for produced water from oil and gas activity.

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Record Rains Leave Oklahoma’s Inland Seaport Damaged And Dangerous

The Webbers Falls Lock and Dam in May 2015.

usacetulsa / Flickr

The Webbers Falls Lock and Dam in May 2015.

The McClellan-Kerr Navigation System that connects the Port of Catoosa — the nation’s furthest inland seaport — to the Gulf of Mexico is “a hell of a mess” after the area got nearly 20 inches of rain in May and June, port director Bob Portiss tell’s the Tulsa World.

As the Tulsa World‘s Casey Smith reports, shipping barges couldn’t get in or out of the port between May 9 and June 28: Continue Reading

As Communities Prepare for New State Fracking Rules, One City Will Wait and See

donkey-head

Sarah Nichols / Flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin signed controversial legislation in May outlawing municipal bans on fracking and other oil and gas activities. Officials in some communities are re-examining their local drilling ordinances to comply with the law, which goes into effect later this summer.

One city in southeastern Oklahoma, however, isn’t budging.

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