“Oklahoma High Court Rules Earthquake Lawsuit Can Resume”

Oklahoma’s highest court says a woman who claims oil and gas disposal wells triggered a 5.7-magnitude earthquake that caused injuries to her leg can seek damages in a lower court, the Associated Press reports.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court said Tuesday that Sandra Ladra can sue. A lower court judge had said that since her claims involved Oklahoma’s energy industry, she should go to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Ladra’s fireplace collapsed during a Nov. 5, 2011, earthquake that is Oklahoma’s strongest on record. She says the temblor was manmade. In their decision, justices noted earthquake activity has increased near Ladra’s home at Prague but did not take a stand on the merits of her case.

Read more at: www.koco.com

Oklahoma’s Largest Utility Confused As U.S. Supreme Court Scuttles EPA Rule

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.

gmeador / Flickr

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to curb mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country.

Oklahoma joined nearly two dozen other states in the lawsuit against the EPA, claiming the federal agency failed to consider the high cost of complying with the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), as The Washington Post‘s Robert Barnes reports: Continue Reading

Delayed Federal Fracking Rules Affect Wells on Tribal Land in Oklahoma

A water line for hydraulic fracturing traverses an oil and gas access road in Woods County.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A water line for hydraulic fracturing crosses an oil-field access road in Woods County, Okla.

A federal judge in Wyoming this week delayed the start of new rules for fracking on federal lands, issuing a temporary stay to give the federal government more time to explain how it developed the rule, The Hill and Casper Star-Tribune report.

The Hill’s Timothy Cama says the ruling is a setback for the Obama administration’s “first major attempt” to regulate fracking. The new, “long-anticipated” rules apply only to oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land, which comprises less than two percent of the land in Oklahoma, but could affect some Oklahoma wells, The Oklahoman‘s Adam Wilmoth reports:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs oversees energy production in Osage County in consultation with the Osage Nation. Continue Reading

Why Oklahoma Had the Nation’s Highest Percentage Of Bee Deaths Last Year

Beekeeper Tim McCoy pries a hive of European honeybees out of an electrical box on Ed Crall's property near Weatherford, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Beekeeper Tim McCoy pries a hive of European honeybees out of an electrical box on Ed Crall's property near Weatherford, Okla.

Honeybees are dying at an alarming rate across the country, but no state lost a greater percentage of its bees than Oklahoma over the last year. When it comes to the general public, there’s a lot of mystery around this issue, but the reasons are becoming more clear.

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“There’s a Giant Hole That’s Draining a Lake Like It’s a Bathtub”

Oklahoma’s Lake Texoma is getting some attention from the national news media for a weird looking hole with an obvious explanation.

Like something straight out of the Twilight Zone, a swirling vortex has opened up in a giant lake in Texas. The gaping hole – which appeared recently in Texas’ Lake Texoma – alarmed everyone from Twitter users to the Tulsa District US Army Corps of Engineers, who posted a YouTube video of the vortex.

Read more at: www.businessinsider.com

Regulators Close Tecumseh Landfill After Finding Fires, Leaks and Pools of Blood

State environmental regulators shuttered a landfill near Tecumseh in May “after years of ongoing problems” that included multiple fires, dead animals and pools of standing blood, The Oklahoman‘s Brianna Bailey reports. Continue Reading

“University of Oklahoma Developed Quake Position While Asking Oilman for $25M”

University of Oklahoma officials sought a $25 million donation from oil billionaire Harold Hamm while scientists at the school formulated a state agency’s position on earthquakes triggered by oil and gas activity, Mike Sorgahan with EnergyWire reports. “They came up with a position that squared with Hamm’s, saying most of the hundreds of earthquakes rattling the state are natural and not caused by the oil industry.”

After the coffee meeting, Hamm continued to press Boren on man-made earthquakes, according to emails obtained by EnergyWire. Hamm urged Boren to prohibit Holland from talking to reporters about quakes and instead have the university’s spokeswoman handle such questions. When The New York Times wrote about Oklahoma earthquakes in December 2013, he forwarded the story to Boren with a note: “This situation could spiral out of control easily.” Just before Christmas in 2013, Hamm complained to Boren, a former U.S. senator, about Democrats in Congress pushing for hearings on drilling-related quakes. He worried that continued discussion of earthquakes could lead to more regulation of the industry.

Read more at: www.eenews.net

Closed Shipping Lanes Pose Yet Another Problem For Oklahoma’s Wheat Farmers

The Newt Graham Lock and Dam near Inola, Okla.

Tyler / Flickr

The Newt Graham Lock and Dam near Inola, Okla.

Slow moving storms that dumped record amounts of rain on Oklahoma in April and May killed the five-year drought, but damaged wheat crops in western Oklahoma. This after one of the worst wheat harvests on record in 2014.

Now, as The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, wheat farmers are facing another hurdle: A closed Port of Catoosa on the Arkansas River that usually carries their product to markets outside of Oklahoma. Continue Reading

New Research Links Oklahoma Earthquake Surge to Oil and Gas Disposal Wells

Oil-field workers lining up a section of pipe at a disposal well in Grant County, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil-field workers lining up a section of pipe at a disposal well plug-back operation in Grant County, Okla.

The vast majority of Oklahoma’s recent earthquakes occurred in areas where the energy industry pumped underground massive amounts of waste fluid byproducts of oil and gas production, scientists write in a new paper published Thursday.

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