Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

Oklahoma Sets a New Earthquake Record as Aftershocks Jolt Residents, Researchers and Regulators

Mona Denney surveys earthquake damage inside her home near Pawnee, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Mona Denney surveys earthquake damage inside her home near Pawnee, Okla.

The U.S. Geological Survey is upgrading the strength of an earthquake that shook the state on Sept. 3 to 5.8 magnitude. That change makes the Labor Day weekend temblor the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma. The quake is the latest in a seismic surge researchers say has largely been fueled by the oil industry practice of pumping waste fluid into underground disposal wells.

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Bethany Sues Aerospace Firms, Claiming Contamination Poses Public Water ‘Emergency’


The City of Bethany is suing a pair of aerospace companies after a “plume” of hazardous chemicals migrating from an airport manufacturing plant contaminated public water supplies and forced the city to shut down a pair of municipal water wells. Continue Reading

Right-to-Farm or Right-to-Harm: Oklahoma Voters Get Final Say With SQ 777

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Dustin Green, owner of 10 Acre Woods farm near Norman, feeds a few of his 400 or so chickens.

Oklahoma voters decide on State Question 777 in November. Supporters call the ballot initiative right-to-farm, but opponents prefer right-to-harm. It’s a divisive, national issue that’s made its way to Oklahoma, pitting agriculture against environmentalists and animal rights activists.

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Group Says Wind Credits Could Cost Billions, Industry Says Analysis Is Inaccurate

A NextEra Renewable Energy Resources wind farm site near Elk City, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A wind farm near Elk City, Okla.

An organization opposed to wind power incentives says payouts could total $5.2 billion by 2030 if Oklahoma’s zero-emissions tax credit continues, “an amount the wind industry said is highly inflated,” The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports:

WindWaste, a group founded by Claremore businessman Frank Robson, said its latest estimates of future wind farm developments in Oklahoma show the state’s annual outlay of rebates from the incentive could balloon to more than $500 million annually as early as 2019.

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Environmental Authorities Order Fixes After Diesel Spill in Ada

After this quarry near a U.S. Silica sand mining operation was mined out, clear blue aquifer water filled it in.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A quarry near Ada filled with water from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality has ordered city officials in Ada to make a series of fixes to ensure the community has clean drinking water after 2,000 gallons of diesel spilled on the ground near city water wells in April of 2015.

DEQ’s orders include stricter sampling, testing and monitoring of wells, the construction of barriers to guard against spills and requiring the city to find an alternative source of drinking water if the wells aren’t usable, the Ada NewsEric Swanson reports: Continue Reading

The Oklahoma Oil Billionaire Shaping Donald Trump’s Bid to Win on Energy Issues

Donald Trump at a campaign stop at the Oklahoma State Fair in September 2015.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

Donald Trump at a campaign stop at the Oklahoma State Fair in September 2015.

Donald Trump is wooing energy-state voters by promising a presidency that will champion coal, promote drilling and free frackers from federal regulations limiting oil and gas development.

If the Republican candidate’s energy platform sounds like it was written specifically for fossil fuel companies, that’s because an Oklahoma oil billionaire helped craft it.

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With Water Settlement Inked, Tribes Now Selling The Details Back Home

Members of the Choctaw Nation gather at the Hugo Community Center to hear details on the new water deal from attorney Michael Burrage.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Members of the Choctaw Nation gather at the Hugo Community Center to hear details on the new water deal from attorney Michael Burrage.

After five years of confidential negotiations, the Chickasaw and Choctaw Nations have reached an agreement with the State of Oklahoma over water in southeast Oklahoma. The deal has been praised by state leaders as a historic accord that ends the tribes’ lawsuit that blocked Oklahoma City’s plan to pump water out of the region. But the deal still has to be sold to tribe members in that part of the state.

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Why Some Cities Are Lining Up to Fight Against Ballot Question on Right-to-Farm

The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission and audience members listen to a presentation on right-to-farm at the April 19 meeting in Tahlequah, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Scenic Rivers Commission and audience members listen to a presentation on right-to-farm at the April 19 meeting in Tahlequah, Okla.

City leaders in Edmond adopted a resolution urging citizens to reject State Question 777. Their counterparts in Choctaw appear likely to do the same, and the Norman City Council has booked a presentation from an organization fighting against the question, which would amend the state constitution to include the “right-to-farm” and prevent lawmakers from passing legislation impeding farming, ranching and agriculture.

Choctaw Mayor Randy Ross told the Journal Record’s Brian Brus why he’s urging his residents to vote no on SQ 777 when they vote in November:

City leaders aren’t as interested in aspects of the ballot issue related to agriculture as they are in residents’ water resources and zoning, he said. The question has been framed by its proponents as protecting a right to farm; Ross sees it as a protection of local governance. Continue Reading

Inside the Landmark State and Tribal Agreement That Ends Standoff Over Water in Southeast Oklahoma

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby at a news conference announcing the water deal.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Chickasaw Nation Gov. Bill Anoatubby at a news conference announcing the water deal.

After five years of court proceedings and confidential negotiations, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations have reached an agreement with the state over control of water in southeast Oklahoma. Continue Reading

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