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Record Rains Leave Oklahoma’s Inland Seaport Damaged And Dangerous

The McClellan-Kerr Navigation System that connects the Port of Catoosa — the nation’s furthest inland seaport — to the Gulf of Mexico is “a hell of a mess” after the area got nearly 20 inches of rain in May and June, port director Bob Portiss tell’s the Tulsa World. As the Tulsa World‘s Casey Smith reports, shipping barges couldn’t get in or out of the port between May 9 and June 28: That’s 51 days with no barge activity, and by extension no movement of cargo via the waterway. “It’s the...
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Cheryl Hooper sells TNT Fireworks from her stand near Route 66 and Westminster Road in Arcadia.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Fireworks stands popped up across more rural parts of the metro weeks ago ahead of the Independence Day holiday, and Oklahoma's climate, some calendar luck, and easing of fireworks laws in other states should a $695 million dollar nationwide industry continue to boom (and yes, of course, that bad pun was intended). Sales have steadily grown since 1998, according to the American Pyrotechnics Association.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed another suit against the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday. This time he’s going after the federal Clean Power Plan to cut carbon emissions at coal plants, as BloombergBusiness’ Andrew M. Harris reports:

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

The fraternity connected to a racist video that roiled the University of Oklahoma campus during spring has announced the hiring of a new director of diversity and inclusion.

Evanston, Illinois-based Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity said in a news release Thursday it had hired North Carolina native Ashlee Canty to help oversee efforts to enhance diversity at the fraternity's more than 200 chapters.

The team at Reveal produced a nifty video on Oklahoma’s earthquake surge that shows, with entertaining visuals, the science of “induced seismicity” — the scientific mechanism that explains how disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry can trigger earthquakes.

The video, produced by Ariane Wu, was based on a reporting collaboration between myself and Reveal’s Michael Corey

dark keyboard and mouse
Michael Schreifels / Flickr

When President Obama signed the USA Freedom Act last month, he said the measure would “strengthen civil liberty safeguards” in government surveillance programs. The Freedom Act includes reformed provisions from the PATRIOT Act and was meant reign in government surveillance activities.

The U.S. economy keeps adding jobs at a steady pace, but the Labor Department report for June also shows more people are leaving the labor force and wages are not rising.

The economy added 223,000 jobs last month as unemployment fell to its lowest rate since 2008, the Labor Department said Thursday. The jobless rate dipped to 5.3 percent from 5.5 percent in May.

oil pump
Sarah Nichols / Flickr

Gov. Mary Fallin signed controversial legislation in May outlawing municipal bans on fracking and other oil and gas activities. Officials in some communities are re-examining their local drilling ordinances to comply with the law, which goes into effect later this summer.

One city in southeastern Oklahoma, however, isn’t budging.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, claiming the federal agency's proposed Clean Power Plan will threaten the reliability and affordability of power in the state.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in federal court in Tulsa argues that the EPA is exceeding its authority and asks a court to grant an injunction prohibiting the EPA from regulating coal-fired electricity plants in Oklahoma.

Ryan LaCroix / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

House Speaker Jeff Hickman is joining the growing chorus of Republican legislators demanding action after the Supreme Court's decision to order the Ten Commandments monument removed from the Capitol grounds.

Hickman said in a statement Wednesday that calls for the impeachment of justices and for a public vote on amending the Oklahoma Constitution are within the Legislature's authority and "will be seriously considered."

H. Michael Karshis / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says crime is declining in the state.

The newly published OSBI Uniform Crime Report for 2014 shows the murder rate dropped 14 percent in 2014. The reports says the number of murders reported last year — 178 — was the lowest in a 10-year period. Since 2012, murders have declined at a rate of 10.3 percent annually.

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