Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

As Cities in Oklahoma Woo Innovative Industries, Researchers Say Schools Are a Weak Link

General Electric's new Oil and Gas Technology Center in Oklahoma City.

VICTOR A. POZADAS / KOSU

General Electric's new Oil and Gas Technology Center in Oklahoma City.

A new report from the Brookings Institution says Oklahoma City is positioned for growth. It says the city has a solid layer of infrastructure essential for development — and diversifying the economy.

But there’s a threat to this development, and that’s a potentially weak workforce. Some researchers say local officials need to ensure schools provide the training innovative companies need. And they need to be doing it now.

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Analysis Confirms State Discounts Taxes on Oil Wells When They’re Most Productive

Workers assemble a horizontal drilling rig in southwestern Oklahoma's Grady County, near a booming oil play known as the SCOOP.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Workers assemble a horizontal drilling rig in southwestern Oklahoma's Grady County, near a booming oil play known as the SCOOP.

More than half the oil and gas a typical horizontal well will produce over its lifetime in Oklahoma is pumped to the surface during its first three years, a new report from Oklahoma Watch shows.

That relatively short window of abundant production is important because that’s when the wells are taxed at much lower rates, reports Warren Vieth from Oklahoma Watch, which tapped data analysis firm Wenzel Technology to crunch 30 years worth of production numbers from more than 3,000 horizontal wells. Continue Reading

Trump’s Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Promise Has Broad Appeal And Big Challenges

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, promoted investment in infrastructure in a day-long tour that included a stop at the Frederick Regional Airport.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, promoted investment in infrastructure in a day-long tour that included a stop at the Frederick Regional Airport.

A cornerstone of President Trump’s campaign and presidency is a $1 trillion proposal to rebuild U.S. infrastructure. The promise is a popular one, and could find bipartisan support across the country and in Congress. The infrastructure needs in Oklahoma illustrate why this issue is so appealing — and challenging.

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Details of Oklahoma Budget Agreement Conceal Cuts for Oklahoma Environmental Agencies

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam on the bank of the Blue River in south-central Oklahoma.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam on the bank of the Blue River in south-central Oklahoma.

The $6.9 billion budget signed last week by Gov. Mary Fallin delivers 5 percent cuts to most state agencies. On paper, it looks like two environmental agencies received funding boosts,  but a closer look at the numbers shows the increases aren’t what they appear.

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Rye: The Underappreciated “Poverty Grain” Enjoys A Renaissance

J.D. Drennan, senior agronomist for 46 Grain Company, stands in front of the grain elevator at Farmers' Elevator Company in Ames, Oklahoma.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

J.D. Drennan, senior agronomist for 46 Grain Company, stands in front of the grain elevator at Farmers' Elevator Company in Ames, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma rye harvest gets underway within the next few days. Oklahoma is the country’s number one producer of what is occasionally referred to as the ‘poverty grain.’ Rye doesn’t have the best reputation, but demand is on the rise.

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‘EPA Pledges Bird Creek Clean-Up’

EPA Administrator and former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt was back in the Sooner State last week — to talk about what his agency plans to do about saltwater contamination in Bird Creek in Osage County that could be tied to the oil and gas industry.

EPA Pledges Bird Creek Clean-Up

The Tulsa World reports that saltwater contamination was first reported in August 2016 when an oily sheen appeared on North Bird Creek along with dead fish and turtles a few miles from the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve.

Lawmakers Question Legality of ‘Creative’ Legislation to Squeeze More Revenue from Oil and Gas Taxes

Service companies parked oil-field trucks and other equipment at the state capitol in a public demonstration as legislators debated a measure that would effectively increase taxes some oil and gas producers pay.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Service companies parked oil-field trucks and other equipment at the state capitol in a public demonstration as legislators debated a measure that would effectively increase taxes some oil and gas producers pay.

Oklahoma lawmakers have struggled for months to agree on a formula to patch a nearly $900 million budget hole and sign off on a plan that funds state agencies. To help pay for the budget plan, lawmakers are considering ways to squeeze more from taxes on oil and gas production, an option that has divided politicians and one of the state’s biggest industries.

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With Pruitt Leading EPA, Oklahoma Oil Firm Gains Ground in Fight Against Regulation

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifying at a Jan. 18 confirmation hearing on his nomination as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

C-SPAN

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifying at a Jan. 18 confirmation hearing on his nomination as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Shortly after taking over as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt started a roll-back of Obama-era environmental regulations, an effort that has provided big benefits to one of his home state’s largest independent oil and gas companies, the New York Times reports.

Pruitt has long maintained a close relationship with Devon Energy, which evolved from a minor political player to a major lobbying force during the Obama administration. With Pruitt leading EPA, Devon is making headway in its fight against federal environmental regulation, Hiroko Tabuchi and Eric Lipton report:

In a gas field here in Wyoming’s struggling energy corridor, nearly 2,000 miles from Washington, the Trump administration’s regulatory reversal is crowning an early champion.

Devon Energy, which runs the windswept site, had been prepared to install a sophisticated system to detect and reduce leaks of dangerous gases. It had also discussed paying a six-figure penalty to settle claims by the Obama administration that it was illegally emitting 80 tons each year of hazardous chemicals, like benzene, a known carcinogen. Continue Reading

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