Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

“Federal Appeals Court: Clean Power Plan Can Proceed”

The Clean Power Plan still faces litigation from more than 20 states, including Oklahoma, but in the meantime it will be allowed to go into effect.


WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court refused Thursday to block Obama administration regulations aimed at reducing power plant pollution while a legal battle wages on. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was a victory for environmentalists and a defeat for states challenging the Environmental Protection Agency regulations in court.

Read more at: www.usatoday.com

After Weeks of Resistance, Oklahoma Oil Company Agrees to Shut Down Wells Near Earthquakes

A SandRidge Energy well in northwestern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A SandRidge Energy well in northwestern Oklahoma.

SandRidge Energy has agreed to shutter some disposal wells in earthquake-prone northern Oklahoma in a settlement that avoids legal action by state oil and gas regulators.

Financially strapped SandRidge had defied directives from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to voluntary shut down disposal wells in shaky areas near the towns of Byron, Cherokee and Medford. The commission had prepared a court filing to force SandRidge to comply with the directives, but in a settlement announced Wednesday, the company agreed to shut down three wells and convert four into monitoring wells for an earthquake-related research project spearheaded by the Oklahoma Geological Survey. Continue Reading

Budget Crisis Could Hinder State’s Ability to Manage Floods and Protect Streams

Children play in a small tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla., in May 2015.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Children play in a small tributary of the Illinois River near Tahlequah, Okla., in May 2015.

Oil and gas are endangering the Oklahoma’s streams, soil and wetlands. Not by polluting them, but because plummeting oil prices have blown a billion-dollar hole in the state’s budget. Funding cuts at agencies that manage Oklahoma’s natural resources could threaten the state’s beauty, as well as people’s lives and property, officials say.


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“More Quakes Rattle Oklahoma But State Avoids Tough Measures”

A recent story by the Associated Press compares how officials in Oklahoma and Kansas reacted to oil industry-linked quakes.


They chose different solutions. Kansas, following early scientific studies, decided to restrict how much and how fast the wastewater could be pumped back underground. Oklahoma instead initially concentrated on the depth of the wastewater injections. Developments since then haven’t been reassuring in Oklahoma, where a quake knocked out power in parts of an Oklahoma City suburb several weeks ago and where fears are growing that the worst is yet to come. On Friday, about 200 unhappy residents packed a forum at the state capitol convened by critics of the state’s response.

Read more at: bigstory.ap.org

Fallin Taps Emergency Fund and Feds To Fix Oklahoma’s Flood-Damaged Dams

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to the Wildhorse 80 dam's spillway in Garvin County in July 2015.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to the Wildhorse 80 dam's spillway in Garvin County in July 2015.

Dozens of Oklahoma’s flood control dams took damage from heavy rains in spring 2015. Despite a looming state revenue failure, enough money was found in the state’s emergency fund for repairs. Continue Reading

Edmond Residents Latest to Sue Oil and Gas Companies Over Earthquake

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

A Devon Energy disposal well near Stillwater, Okla.

Fourteen Edmond residents filed a lawsuit Monday against a dozen oil and gas companies, “claiming their saltwater disposal wells were in part to blame for earthquakes that hit central Oklahoma in recent weeks,” The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports.

The lawsuit, filed in Oklahoma County District Court, said the companies acted negligently and their use of disposal wells constituted an “ultrahazardous activity.” The nine homeowners said disposal wells operated by the companies “caused or contributed” to earthquakes.

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Oilfield Truck Crashes in Oklahoma Kill and Injure Dozens in Recent Years

An oil-field truck pulls into a well in north-central Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

An oil-field truck pulls into a well in north-central Oklahoma.

Thirty-six people in Oklahoma have died in crashes “involving trucks hauling oilfield wastewater and equipment” over the last eight years, The Frontier and News9 report.

Data show that 7 percent of all truck companies licensed for oil-field work in Oklahoma have been involved in fatal accidents, including crashes blamed on “bad brakes, trucks thousands of pounds overweight, failure to test drivers for drugs,” the news organizations report: Continue Reading

From Revenue Failure to Right-To-Farm: StateImpact Oklahoma Covers 2016

In January 2015, drought stricken Waurika Lake was dangerously low.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

In January 2015, drought stricken Waurika Lake was dangerously low.

There’s a $1 billion hole in the state budget that has consequences for Oklahoma’s environment and natural resources. A controversial state question could pit farmer against farmer. The ground beneath Oklahoma is shaking — figuratively and literally in 2016 — and StateImpact is on it.


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State Readying Legal Challenge to Oil Company Refusing to Shut Down Wells Near Earthquakes

State oil and gas authorities are finalizing legal action to force a “financially strapped” Oklahoma energy company to abandon disposal wells suspected of contributing to earthquakes.

SandRidge

Provided

Sandridge Energy has been defying directives from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to shut down six disposal wells in north-central Oklahoma. Commission staff are finalizing a legal filing that, if approved, could modify permits and halt operation of the wells.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Erin Ailworth on Monday explored possible reasons for Sandridge’s defiance, which was first reported by EnergyWire’s Mike Soraghan.

Sandridge’s refusal to comply is a closely watched challenge to the state’s authority. The company’s earthquake conundrum is one that more drillers could face this year if oil prices continue to languish at low levels. Some of those, like Sandridge, need disposal wells to keep producing crude. Continue Reading

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