Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

‘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

$2.6 Million Paid By Farmers And Ranchers Missing From Oklahoma Beef Council

A foreman at the Shirley Ranch helps unload a trailer of Red Angus cattle to winter in a pasture near Alva, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A foreman at the Shirley Ranch helps unload a trailer of Red Angus cattle to winter in a pasture near Alva, Okla.

A federal investigation has been launched into the alleged embezzlement of $2.6 million by an employee of an obscure state board that promotes the beef industry, money created by a mandatory government program funded by farmers and ranchers. Continue Reading

Why Oklahoma and Other Red States Might Pump Up Gasoline Taxes to Fill Budget Holes

An abandoned gas station near Edmond, Okla.

Michael Kesler / Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

An abandoned gas station near Edmond, Okla.

Oklahoma lawmakers are staring into a budget hole that’s nearly $900 million deep — and they might not be able to cut their way out of it. Legislators are considering tax increases to help fund state government, and one idea is gaining traction: Hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel.

State taxes on motor fuel haven’t been touched since 1987. There are a lot of similarities between the situation then and what Oklahoma lawmakers now face: An economy shaken by low oil prices and dwindling revenue streams to fund state government. Continue Reading

Obama Signs Bill That Officially Ends Southeast Oklahoma’s Tribal Water Fight

A sign along Oklahoma Highway 43 near Sardis Lake.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A sign along Oklahoma Highway 43 near Sardis Lake.

President Barack Obama on Friday signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, which passed the U.S. Senate in the wee hours Saturday morning. The $10 billion federal bill directs money to Oklahoma to help fix and address multiple water-related problems and issues across the state.

The bill’s signing brings a formal conclusion to the years long dispute between the state and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations over control of water in Sardis Lake and across southeast Oklahoma. Continue Reading

Trump’s Nomination of Pruitt to EPA Casts Spotlight On States’ Crusade Against Federal ‘Overreach’

scott-pruitt2014-1_WEB

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Donald Trump wants Scott Pruitt to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Oklahoma attorney general is a fierce ally of fossil fuel companies and one of the EPA’s biggest opponents. The nomination draws a sharp line dividing industry and environmentalists that could test the limits of another big fight: state sovereignty.

Continue Reading

Oklahoma Lawmakers Consider Selling Power Plants To Fill Budget Hole

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla.

Oil prices are on the rebound, which should eventually generate revenue and help Oklahoma’s state budget situation. Still, another budget hole — that could be as large as $600 million — will likely have to be filled during the 2017 legislative session. One emerging idea that could put an extra billion dollars in state coffers: Selling the Grand River Dam Authority. Continue Reading

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