Environment
9:25 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Governors Want Bird Kept Off Endangered List

The lesser prairie chicken.
Credit USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

The governors of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico,Oklahoma and Texas say public-private partnerships involving landowners and developers are the best way to protect the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken.

The Journal Record in Oklahoma City reported Friday that the governors this month signed a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service asking the agency to not add the bird to the threatened species list. They say that adding the bird could slow development of oil, gas and wind projects in the Plains.

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May 2013 Tornado Coverage
8:23 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Oklahoma School Districts Consider Adding Storm Shelters

Originally published on Fri August 16, 2013 5:46 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

On a Friday, this is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

Today is the first day of school for students in Moore, Oklahoma. It is a bittersweet return. Nearly three months ago, a tornado tore through that small community. The storm destroyed hundreds of buildings, including two elementary schools. Seven students and 18 other people died. The storm has fueled a debate about why there aren't more storm shelters in the heart of Tornado Alley. Across Oklahoma, there's no statewide plan to put shelters in schools.

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All Tech Considered
6:34 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Tornado Tech: How Drones Can Help With Twister Science

Drones can provide information about temperature, humidity and pressure that current radar systems can't provide. Above, the Talos drone, which has a 15.5-foot wingspan.
Jamey Jacob Oklahoma State University

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 10:15 am

Oklahoma was hit particularly hard by two massive outbreaks this year in what's been another deadly season of tornadoes in the U.S. Despite technology and forecasting improvements, scientists still have plenty to learn about how and why tornadoes form.

Currently, one of the best ways for researchers to understand how tornadoes form is to chase them. So off they go with mobile science laboratories, rushing toward storms armed with research equipment and weather-sensing probes.

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Oklahoma Muslim Challenges State Question 755
6:33 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Federal Judge Prohibits Oklahoma Officials From Certifying Election Results

Gavel and Stryker
Credit Keith Burtis / Flickr.com

A federal judge has prohibited Oklahoma officials from certifying the results of a statewide election in 2010 that would have prohibited state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.

In an order handed down Thursday, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange permanently enjoined the State Election Board from certifying results of the vote in which State Question 755 was approved. The measure was passed with 70 percent of the vote on Nov. 2, 2010.

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Children In State Custody
5:52 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Increasing Number Of Children In Foster Care

Cover of The Oklahoma Pinnacle Plan
Credit Oklahoma Department of Human Services

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services says an increase in the number of children in state custody is hampering efforts to meet goals that are part of the settlement of a federal lawsuit over DHS' treatment of children.

The Oklahoman reports that DHS officials told a joint meeting of DHS citizens' advisory panels Wednesday that the number of children in state custody rose from about 8,000 in 2009 to 10,428.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
4:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Damaged Land Could Once Again Cost Oklahoma Mining Regulator Its Federal Funding

A gate into a silica sand mining operation near Mill Creek in south-central Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coal mining can cause a lot of damage to the landscape, and the federal government has rules about how mining companies are supposed to treat the land after they’re done with it.

Basically, they’re supposed to return it to approximately what it was like before.

The federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is charged with making sure the Oklahoma Department of Mines is enforcing that rule. If the Oklahoma mining regulator doesn’t, the feds can step in and take over that role.

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World Views
4:30 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Government Crackdown Raises Larger Questions About Egypt's Economic Future

President Obama speaks by phone with his National Security Staff regarding the situation in Egypt, while in Chilmark, Mass., Aug. 15, 2013.
Credit Amanda Lucidon / The White House

On Thursday President Obama canceled joint military exercises with Egypt – saying U.S. cooperation with that country can't "continue as usual" amid the violence that claimed more than 600 lives since Wednesday. 

Samer Shehata, a University of Oklahoma professor of Middle East Studies and an expert on Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood, says while the move was the least President Obama could do, it was still necessary.

“It isn't terribly costly for the United States or for the Egyptian military,” Shehata says. “I think the larger questions, the more important questions, are will U.S. military assistance to Egypt, which is on the tune of $1.3 billion annually, will that be suspended or ended?”

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U.S.
4:11 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

States Target Hybrids As Gas Tax Revenues Ebb

Sara Busch of Havertown, Pa., owns a Chevy Volt, an electric hybrid. Like a lot of Americans, she's buying less gasoline than she used to, which means she's paying less in gas taxes.
Jeff Brady NPR

Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 4:50 pm

Americans are buying less gasoline than they did just a few years back. While many people believe this is a good thing, it does present a problem: Most road construction is paid for with fuel taxes. Less gas tax revenue means less money for roads.

One reason gas purchases are down is that more people are driving more efficient cars, such as hybrid and electric vehicles. Now states are looking for solutions, including charging hybrids extra fees or imposing fees based on miles driven.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:36 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

How Hugo Lake Lost Its State Park Status

Fishing near Hugo Lake park, which lost its state park status in June 2013.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Tourism Commission on June 26 voted to strip Hugo Lake of its state park status, citing low attendance.

The commission acted “quietly,” but State Sen. Jerry Ellis (D-Valliant) responded loudly, The Journal Record’s M. Scott Carter reports:

On Aug. 2, Ellis sent a letter to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin asking that the Tourism Commission reconsider the status of the park using factual information.

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Native American
1:15 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Osage Nation Seeks Support Against Eagle Kills

Credit Rich Anderson Flickr / Creative Commons

The National Congress of American Indians has joined the Osage Nation in opposing federal actions to permit eagle kills caused by wind industry development on tribal lands without regard for tribal cultural interests and authority. 

A recent NCAI resolution says authorizing the wind energy project to kill eagles in Osage Nation territory without the tribe's consent would set a dangerous precedent. The resolution says it would limit the ability of all tribes in the U.S. to protect their cultural resources.

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