Environmental groups have challenged a decades-old exemption for oil and gas drillers from federal law and the energy industry and state regulators are worried a court ruling against the EPA and “the possibility of new regulations,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports.
The National Park Service turns 100 this year, and many states are celebrating top-tier environmental landmarks that are a big source of local pride. About half the U.S. states don’t have a national park — including Oklahoma.
That wasn’t always the case, and the story of what happened illustrates a changing view of what national parks are for.
The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board has directed $100 million in voluntary assessments to clean up more than 15,000 abandoned oil and gas wells, but another 20,000 to 40,000 remain, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports.
Oklahoma County led the country in oil industry job creation in 2015, according to a Headlight Data analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. On the other end of the spectrum, Washington County in northeastern Oklahoma ranked No. 6 in oil industry job losses.
Oklahoma’s primary environmental agency made a private contractor pay just under $1 million earlier in a settlement over improperly treated water in a small city in southern Oklahoma. But the state’s budget shortfall swallowed up the money before the city of Hugo had a chance to use it.
Oklahoma remained No. 4 in the U.S. in installed wind power capacity during the second quarter of 2016, but a national industry group expects the state to move up the ranks by the end of the year.
No new wind farms have been completed in recent months, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association, but more than 1,100 megawatts are currently under construction, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:
Oklahoma has 5,453 megawatts of wind capacity installed, after adding 270 megawatts in the first quarter. The state continued to rank fourth in the nation for installed wind capacity, following Texas, Iowa and California. Nationally, more than 49,000 turbines are installed, representing 74,821 megawatts of capacity. Continue Reading
Oklahoma Forestry Services is “closing four offices and reducing services in a restructuring plan forced by budget reductions,” the Associated Press reports. The 2016 budget bill included a 10.6 percent cut in funding to the division’s umbrella agency, the Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, state records show.
Oklahoma’s four primary environmental agencies have lost more than $15 million in state appropriations and tens of millions of dollars in legislatively directed reductions to revolving funds, OETA reports. Continue Reading
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association might push Oklahoma legislators to extend some of the rights afforded oil and natural gas properties to alternative forms of energy like wind and solar, the Journal Record’s Brian Brus reports: Continue Reading
Billionaire Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm sharply criticized environmental regulations in a pro-Donald Trump speech on energy policy at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night.