Oklahoma

Economy, Energy, Natural Resources: Policy to People

The People Stuck In the Middle Of the Fight Over Southeast Oklahoma’s Water

Pat Starbuck outside the Choctaw Nation Community Center in Talihina.

Allison Herrera / Invisible Nations

Pat Starbuck outside the Choctaw Nation Community Center in Talihina.

Sardis Lake, in southeastern Oklahoma, is at the heart of a battle between state and tribal governments over control of water. Debate has raged over whether to pipe to north Texas, Oklahoma City, or western Oklahoma ever since it was built in the early 1980s. Stuck in the middle are the people who call the Sardis area home.


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Regulators Approve New Rules to Settle Disputes Over Earthquake Actions

A SandRidge Energy well in northwestern Oklahoma.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A SandRidge Energy well in northwestern Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to approve new rules specifying how agency staff and disposal well operators will settle disputes over regulatory actions issued to reduce earthquakes.

Nearly all operators have voluntarily complied with earthquake-related regulatory actions issued by commission staff, known as directives. But SandRidge Energy in December 2015 refused for weeks “to shut down six wells and reduce wastewater volumes in 50 others in northern Oklahoma,” prompting staff to threaten legal action, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports: Continue Reading

As State Finances Stumble, Oil and Gas Leaders Rally to End Tax Credits For Wind

Continental Resources founder and CEO Harold Hamm, second to the left, at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association office in Oklahoma City.

Continental Resources founder and CEO Harold Hamm, second to the left, at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association's office in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma legislators are considering eliminating some tax credits and incentives for businesses to help plug a $1.3 billion budget gap. The state’s fiscal crisis has led some oil and gas leaders to push lawmakers to end incentives for the wind industry.

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“Settlement Reached For $955K In Hugo Water Quality Case”

More than $900,000 of Severn Trent’s fine will go to help other small towns with water infrastructure needs.


The private company that has been operating Hugo’s water supply system has agreed to pay $955,000 to settle $3.17 million in proposed fines levied for drinking water quality violations, the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality announced Wednesday. The agreement calls for Severn Trent Environmental Services Inc.

Read more at: newsok.com

“Police: McClendon Hit Support at 78 mph, Didn’t Try to Turn”

Oklahoma City police on Monday released new details on the fiery single-car crash that killed former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon a day after his federal indictment.


Investigators say the energy executive and part-owner of the Oklahoma City Thunder was driving 78 miles per hour when he struck a concrete overpass the morning of March 2.

Police say McClendon was alone in the SUV, was not wearing a seatbelt, and made no effort to hit the brakes or avoid the wall.

Investigators are still looking into whether McClendon was using his cell phone at the time.

Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty wouldn’t comment when asked if police believe the crash was intentional.

Read more at: kosu.org

“Chesapeake Energy’s Downfall Is Another Oil Company’s Gain”

Steve Trammel, an oil and gas expert with analytics firm IHS, said there’s a flip slide to Chesapeake’s move: “If Chesapeake is selling assets, that means somebody is buying them,” Inside Energy’s Dan Boyce reports.


“The people who have good balance sheets are able to pick up some bargains right now and pick up some assets they might never have had access to when prices were stronger than they are,” he said.

As an example, Denver-based FourPoint Energy recently purchased 3,500 of Chesapeake’s oil and gas wells in western Oklahoma and in the Texas panhandle. It’s a good deal for FourPoint. They’re a small company — with the purchase they produce about a 10th of what Chesapeake does — but these are good wells, and oil and gas prices have been so low for awhile now. These kinds of purchases could be a good sign for oil and gas.

Read more at: insideenergy.org

As Budgets Narrow and Dedicated Funds are Diverted, Agency Slows Plugging of Abandoned Wells

Jack Romine stands near a makeshift chimney state inspectors installed over an abandoned, leaky well that was discovered near his home in Bartlesville, Okla.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Jack Romine stands near a makeshift chimney state inspectors installed over an abandoned, leaky well that was discovered near his home in Bartlesville, Okla.

Oklahoma has hundreds of abandoned oil and gas wells, the byproduct of a century of petroleum production. Left unrepaired, many of these wells can endanger people and the environment. The state has a fund to plug abandoned wells, but some of that money has been diverted due to budget cuts.

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Aubrey McClendon Dead One Day After Being Charged In Bid-Rigging Conspiracy

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennet chat during an Oklahoma City Thunder game.

Brett Deering / Getty Images

Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon and Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennet chat during an Oklahoma City Thunder game.

Oklahoma oil and gas pioneer Aubrey McClendon died Wednesday morning following a traffic crash in Oklahoma City.

It’s unclear whether the wreck is related to McClendon’s indictment on Tuesday on charges he masterminded a conspiracy to rig the bidding process for oil and gas leases in northwest Oklahoma. He was due to appear in court later in the day on Wednesday. Continue Reading

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