The Center for Biological Diversity and University of Oklahoma law professor Kristen van de Biezenbos filed a grievance with the Oklahoma Bar Association over U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s confirmation hearing testimony regarding his use of personal email when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, E&E News reports:
They argue Pruitt violated professional conduct rules by saying at the hearing that he only used his work email for official business as the state’s attorney general. Subsequently, emails released under open records litigation show that Pruitt had used personal email for work purposes. Continue Reading
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma
Guthrie Fire Chief Eric Harlow.
Crews have worked for more than a week to contain a massive wildfire that has torched more than a thousand square miles and killed one person and thousands of head of livestock in northwestern parts of Oklahoma. State budget cuts mean Oklahoma increasingly depends on other states to fight its largest and most dangerous wildfires.
StateImpact has reported on the dwindling number of Oklahoma state parks since Gov. Mary Fallin took office in 2011. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department says budget cuts are to blame, and as KSWO reports, the biggest spate of park closures yet could be on the way:
OK (KSWO)- Oklahoma is continuing to see some of the impacts from a major budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year and it’s the tourism industry that could be hit the worst. That’s bad news for our state parks. The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department told the staff to be prepared.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma
Edmond resident Jonathon Stranger in his 2013 Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car.
A bill passed by the state House of Representatives Wednesday would impose an annual fee on owners of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles in Oklahoma, and that’s leaving some electric car owners feeling singled out.
The Pawnee Nation on Friday filed a lawsuit against several oil and gas companies, accusing the firms of operating wastewater injection sites that triggered the record 5.8-magnitude September 2016 earthquake and caused extensive damage to the tribe’s nearly century-old buildings. Continue Reading
Avery White / Oceti Sakowin Camp/CC BY-NC 2.0
A field medic raises her fist as protestors stand near a fire blocking a road along the Dakota Access Pipeline Route near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota.
Oklahoma legislators are advancing a bill that outlaws trespassing on sites containing “critical infrastructure.” Supporters say the measure will help prevent damage and disruption of energy markets, electric grids and water services, but environmental activists and civil rights groups say the bill’s real purpose is to block political protests of pipelines and similar projects.
U.S. Drought Monitor
Oklahoma drought conditions as of February 21, 2017
Frigid temperatures never fully took hold in Oklahoma this winter. February saw record high temperatures, and instead of ice and snow, wildfires were the main weather-related concern, and drought — though improved — has persisted across much of the state.
In a statement summarizing February’s weather highlights and looking ahead to March, State Climatologist Gary McManus says the first two months of 2017 broke the record for the warmest combined January and February in state history. Continue Reading
The Oklahoma Supreme Court has granted a request by the Attorney General’s office to delay a lower court’s order requiring the agency to turn over records sought by a watchdog group.
The Center for Media and Democracy sued the agency in February to force it to handover emails sent during the tenure of former attorney general Scott Pruitt, now administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Continue Reading
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma
Mill Creek, southwest of Ada's Byrd's Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma, also originates from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.
The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells. The Water Resources Board this week approved new rules to allow water to be stored underground, in aquifers.