Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Regulation Accelerates as Officials Move from Hesitation to ‘Direct Correlation’ on Oil-Linked Earthquakes

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking to the media after an earthquake council meeting in August 2015.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking to the media after an earthquake council meeting in August 2015.

In the five years since earthquakes first began blitzing Oklahoma, state officials have been hesitant to agree with scientists who blamed the oil and gas industry.

While the shaking doesn’t appear to be slowing, the regulatory response is now quickly ramping up.

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Oklahoma Beekeepers, Farmers Discuss Balancing Hive Health and Crop Protection

Beekeeper Tim McCoy removes a rogue honeybees have from an electrical box in farmland near Weatherford, Okla in this June 2015 photo.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Beekeeper Tim McCoy removes a rogue honeybees have from an electrical box in farmland near Weatherford, Okla in this June 2015 photo.

Oklahoma lost a greater percentage of its honeybee colonies than any other state over the last year. On Tuesday, beekeepers, scientists, and farmers gathered at Langston University’s Oklahoma City campus to give their input on a plan to better protect pollinators of all kinds.

The discussion centered on balancing the need to apply pesticides to crops, with the dangers those chemicals pose to pollinating insects. The main point of contention was whether to make the location of managed colonies available online. It would allow pesticide applicators to avoid bees, but would also let potential thieves to know exactly where the valuable hives are. Continue Reading

“Judge Halts New Regulations on Osage County Oil Production”

U.S. Chief District Judge Gregory Frizzell granted a preliminary injunction after finding the feds “failed to provide a factual basis for its determination that the new regulations would not adversely impact small businesses” and “overstepped its authority in determining how much royalties should be paid by leaseholders,” the Tulsa World reports.


Groups representing the Osage Nation and oil producers operating in Osage County sued the federal government in early July, claiming new rules about to take effect would lead to decreased production and royalties and effectively kill the oil industry in the largest county in the state. Among other concerns, the producers claimed the new regulations would increase their costs tremendously, while the Osage Nation claimed the new rules infringed upon their sovereignty.

Read more at: m.tulsaworld.com

One Rainy Spring Not Enough To Stop Aquifer Declines in Oklahoma

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.

Almost half of the water used by Oklahomans comes from aquifers, and four years of drought increased that reliance. This year’s record-setting rainfall filled up the state’s lakes, but recharging aquifers doesn’t happen so quickly.

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Problems at Privately Run Treatment Plant Left Hugo Residents With Unsafe Water

About 7,000 residents in Hugo lived for months with unsafe drinking water because a private company improperly disinfected municipal water supplies and misreported data to local and state officials.

Severn Trent Services, which took over the city’s water treatment in 2007, “didn’t use enough chlorine for more than 300 days over the course of two years,” Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality findings show, The Journal Record‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

Hugo residents were potentially exposed to deadly viruses and bacteria because the company didn’t use the most basic water disinfecting chemical, according to agency findings.

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“Gov. Mary Fallin: Regulations Won’t Have Immediate Impact on Number of Quakes”

Gov. Mary Fallin and other members of a council tasked with studying Oklahoma’s uptick in seismic activity say “changes in regulatory policies governing disposal wells will not have an immediate impact on the number of earthquakes in the state,” the Tulsa World’s Barbara Hoberock reports.


“I think it is important for the people of Oklahoma to understand that just because there is a change in regulatory policy doesn’t mean you are going to see an action next week or one month or two months or six months,” Fallin said. “It could be a year until we see a measurable difference. We are trying to figure out day by day what is the best thing to do.”

Read more at: www.tulsaworld.com

Oklahoma Officials Vow To Keep Fighting Obama Plan To Cut Power Plant Pollution

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finalized its Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s attempt to cut carbon emissions from power plants by more than 30 percent nationwide.

Though just finalized, the plan has been in the works for two years, and Oklahoma officials have opposed it every step of the way. Continue Reading

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