Governor Signs Bill to Bank Booming Revenue to Fund State During Oil Busts

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking at the 2013 Governor's Energy Conference in Tulsa, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin speaking at the 2013 Governor's Energy Conference in Tulsa, Okla.

Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday signed into law legislation that banks boom-time tax revenues to cushion the state during energy downturns.

The Energy Revenues Stabilization Act was created through House Bill 2763, authored by Rep. John Montgomery, R-Lawton. The measure siphons off above-average tax revenues levied on corporations and oil and gas production and saves it in an account that can be tapped during state funding emergencies. Continue Reading

State Budget Agreement Brings Sharp Funding Cuts to Agencies Overseeing Oklahoma’s Environment

Oklahoma Water Resources Board project coordinator Jason Murphy takes water samples at the Canadian River east of Oklahoma City.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Water Resources Board project coordinator Jason Murphy takes water samples at the Canadian River east of Oklahoma City.

After months of deliberation and closed-door meetings, lawmakers in the Oklahoma House and Senate are poised to cut a deal to fill a $1.3 billion shortfall and fund government for 2017. Continue Reading

“Oklahoma Insurers Have Raised Rates as Much as 300 Percent for Earthquake Polices”

Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak is considering regulations that create a “file-and-use” system for earthquake insurance policies, “meaning insurers would have to submit rate increases to the Oklahoma Insurance Department in advance,” The Oklahoman’s Brianna Bailey reports.


The market for earthquake insurance has experienced significant concentration into a handful of personal lines earthquake carriers over the past five years, according to data complied by Brian Gabbert, chief of market regulation for the Oklahoma insurance Department. At the same time, the total amount of earthquake premiums written in the state has nearly tripled from about $7 million in 2010 to $19 million in 2015, according to the insurance department.

Read more at: newsok.com

Small Oil and Gas Producers Urge Lawmakers to Keep or Amend Rebate for Unprofitable Wells

Columbus Oil Company owner Darlene Wallace in the field with a "stripper well," which produces two-and-a-half barrels of oil a day.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Columbus Oil Company owner Darlene Wallace in the field with a "stripper well," which produces two-and-a-half barrels of oil a day.

The deadline to fund state government is rapidly approaching, and legislators are struggling to bridge a $1.3 billion budget gap. One idea is to end a tax rebate for unprofitable oil and gas wells, but small oil and gas producers say their safety net shouldn’t be used to plug the state’s budget hole.

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Oklahoma Agency Protecting Scenic Rivers Dissolved As State Funding Dries Up

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission Executive Director Ed Fite next to a mountain of life vests at the War Eagle Resort near Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission's Fite next to a mountain of life vests at the War Eagle Resort near Tahlequah, Okla.

Come July 1, the Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission will be no more.

Gov. Mary Fallin on May 11 signed a bill disbanding the small state agency, transferring its mission — and employees — to the Grand River Dam Authority, which now takes on the Commission’s role of keeping Oklahoma’s six scenic rivers clean and safe for tourists. Continue Reading

“Senate Cotes to Trim Tax Credit for At-risk Wells”

The state Senate on Thursday approved a bill that would end a tax break for “economically distressed” oil and gas wells, The Oklahoman’s Rick Green reports.


This could save the state nearly $133 million next fiscal year as the downturn in the oil industry has greatly increased the number of financially risky wells. In good times for the industry, the cost to the state was only about $4 million a year.

Senate Bill 1577, which is now to be considered in the House, was approved 37-6.

In a year in which the state faces a $1.3 billion budget hole, this tax provision simply got too expensive, bill proponents said.

“Failure of this bill would result in cuts to Medicaid, education and other core services,” said Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond.

Read more at: newsok.com

Reuters: Insurance Companies Limit Exposure as Oklahoma Earthquakes Soar

Insurance companies moved to limit their exposure as Oklahoma’s earthquake rate exploded, according to an investigation by Reuters.

Examining thousands of pages of documents from the Oklahoma Insurance Commission, reporter Luc Cohen found the efforts by nearly a dozen insurance companies “often occurred at the expense of homeowners”:

Even as they insured more and more properties against earthquakes in the past two years, six insurers hiked premiums by as much as 260 percent and three increased deductibles. Three companies stopped writing new earthquake insurance altogether, state regulatory filings obtained by Reuters show. Several insurers took more than one of those steps.

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Next Republican House Leader Has Roots in Southeastern Oklahoma Water

Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, in early May was tapped by his republican colleagues to be their next leader.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Rep. Charles McCall, R-Atoka, in early May was tapped by his republican colleagues to be their next leader.

Republicans in the Oklahoma House of Representatives last week chose a new leader for 2017: Charles McCall. The Republican is from Atoka in southeast Oklahoma, which could bring a unique perspective on water to the capitol.

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