Gov. Mary Fallin’s State Budget Proposal Includes New Tax on Wind Energy

Wind turbines line the horizon near Kingfisher, Okla.

mtneer_ma / flickr

Wind turbines line the horizon near Kingfisher, Okla.

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday proposed a new 0.5 cent per kilowatt hour tax on wind-generated electricity.

The new wind production tax is part of Fallin’s 2018 executive budget, a document written to guide the Legislature as it struggles to fill an $870 million revenue shortfall and write bills appropriating money to hundreds of state agencies. In her budget, Fallin also suggests an early end to tax incentives for the wind industry. Combined, the two efforts are expected to generate $36.6 million in revenue.

If lawmakers adopt Fallin’s proposal, Oklahoma would be the second state to impose a tax on wind power, “and its tax would be the nation’s highest,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:

The idea of taxing wind production has been floated before at the Capitol, including last year when some oil and gas executives also said state wind incentives were too generous. The Legislature did not take any action to curtail the wind incentives or enact a new tax last year. Continue Reading

‘EPA Tells Oklahoma State Isn’t ‘Doing Enough’ to Protect Citizens’

The letter to Oklahoma’s three corporation commissioners is especially relevant because of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s pending appointment to head the EPA, Ziva Branstetter reports. “Pruitt would be in a position to alter the EPA’s request and position on induced seismicity in Oklahoma. Such an action would impact energy companies here that have partnered with Pruitt in lawsuits against the federal agency to roll back or halt environmental regulations.”

EPA tells Oklahoma state isn’t ‘doing enough’ to protect citizens

The letter from Ron Curry, administrator for the EPA’s Region 6, notes that Oklahoma has taken some measures to reduce injection of wastewater produced by oil and gas drilling but states additional measures should be taken. Continue Reading

Republicans Outmaneuver Democratic Boycott to Allow Senate Vote on Oklahoma’s Scott Pruitt for EPA Boss

Empty chairs in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mark Democrats' boycott of a vote to advance the nomination of Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

C-SPAN

Empty chairs in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee mark Democrats' boycott of a vote to advance the nomination of Oklahoma AG Scott Pruitt to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

With no Democrats in the room, U.S. Senate Republicans on Thursday voted unanimously to approve the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Oklahoma Under Rare National Fire Advisory As Drought Envelops State

Oklahoma Army Guardsmen were called out to support local firefighters in Edmond on January 24. Eight Soldiers on two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters equipped with Bambi Buckets flew nearly three hours and dropped 30 buckets, releasing around 19,800 gallons of water on a wildfire that engulfed houses in the area.

Oklahoma National Guard / Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Oklahoma Army Guardsmen were called out to support local firefighters in Edmond on January 24. Eight Soldiers on two UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters equipped with Bambi Buckets flew nearly three hours and dropped 30 buckets, releasing around 19,800 gallons of water on a wildfire that engulfed houses in the area.

With 95-percent of the state under drought conditions, Oklahoma has been issued its first ever national fire advisory from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. The advisory lasts for two weeks — into mid-February — and warns, as The Associated Press’ Justin Juozapavicius reports, “the ingredients for a potentially disastrous fire outbreak are already in place.” Continue Reading

Cherokee Nation Preserves Food Culture by Freezing History

Biologist and Cherokee Nation Administrative Liaison Pat Gwin removes white eagle corn seeds from the seed bank freezer at Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Biologist and Cherokee Nation Administrative Liaison Pat Gwin removes white eagle corn seeds from the seed bank freezer at Cherokee Nation headquarters in Tahlequah, Okla.

Before the Cherokee people were forced from their lands in the eastern U.S. along the Trail of Tears, the tribe grew varieties of crops now nearly lost. But at the Cherokee Nation Seed Bank in Tahlequah, Okla., a vital part of the tribe’s history is kept frozen.

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Oklahoma AG and EPA Pick Pruitt Stalled Pollution Lawsuit After Contributions From Poultry Industry

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt speaking about energy self-sufficiency at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2016.

American Conservative Union / C-SPAN

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt speaking about energy self-sufficiency at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2016.

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, walked back a legal fight to clean up rivers polluted by chicken manure after accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions linked to the poultry industry, campaign and court records show. Continue Reading

‘Pruitt Didn’t Follow State Law on Reporting Outside Attorney Costs’

Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who is about to face Senate hearings to confirm his nomination as administrator of the EPA, has failed to follow a state law requiring his agency to report spending on outside attorneys, The Frontier’s Ziva Branstetter reports.

Pruitt didn’t follow state law on reporting outside attorney costs

The Frontier first asked his office for records last month showing how much it spent each year on outside legal contracts. Though the office posted the reports to the attorney general’s website late Tuesday, they do not include Pruitt’s office in the list of reports. Continue Reading

‘Pruitt Fundraising PACs to Wind Down by EPA Confirmation Hearing, Attorney Says’

An attorney for Scott Pruitt two political action committees says the groups will be terminated by the time the Oklahoma attorney general’s Senate confirmation hearings for administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:

Pruitt fundraising PACs to wind down by EPA confirmation hearing, attorney says

Two federal political action committees formed to support Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and conservative causes will shutter operations this month ahead of his planned Senate confirmation hearings for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Continue Reading

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