Joe Wertz

Reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma

Joe has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:35 am
Thu September 4, 2014

On The Mountain Fork River, Environmental Protection Equals Economic Development

Eddie Brister, owner of the Beaver's Bend Fly Shop on the southern section of the Mountain Fork River.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

This is the final part of StateImpact Oklahoma’s series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. Here are parts one, two, and three.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
9:10 am
Wed September 3, 2014

VIDEO: Source Eludes Investigators As Another Fish-Kill Is Reported On Salt Fork River

A late-August fish-kill is the second die-off reported in the span of a month on the Salt Fork River in north-central Oklahoma.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:15 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Residents File Class-Action Lawsuit To Block Wind Turbines Near Kingfisher

Windmills near Weatherford, Oklahoma.
Credit Wesley Fryer / Flickr Creative Commons

Seven landowners filed a class-action lawsuit this week to prevent wind turbines from being built near their homes in Canadian and Kingfisher counties.

In the complaint, which is embedded above, the landowners claim that planned wind farm projects controlled by Virginia-based Apex Clean Energy would create a nuisance, devalue their property and adversely affect their health.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:19 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

State Agencies Concerned About Carrying Out EPA’s ‘Aggressive’ Air Pollution Plan

Power lines extend out from the Oklaunion coal-fired power plant near Vernon, Texas.
Credit Roy Luck / Flickr Creative Commons

State environmental and utility regulators on Thursday said it would be a struggle to accomplish carbon dioxide reduction goals outlined in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan.”

The EPA’s proposal, first outlined in June, “would mean carbon dioxide reductions of more than 40 percent from Oklahoma power plants by 2030,” The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

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StateImpact Oklahoma
10:49 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Other States Have Outsize Influence In Oklahoma’s Scenic River Protection Policy

Bob Deitrick of Owasso stands along the banks of the Upper Illinois River at the Round Hollow public access point north of Tahlequah, Okla. The headwaters of this river are in Arkansas.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

This is part two of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. Part one is available here.

Bob Deitrick checks the snaps on his bright orange life vest, crouches and checks all the gear one last time. The Owasso father’s son and his two friends are behind him, impatiently paddling in circles.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
6:31 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Injection Well Earthquakes Feel Weaker Than Natural Ones, New Study Suggests

Credit Ray Bouknight / Flickr Creative Commons

While a growing chorus of scientific research has linked Oklahoma’s recent spike in earthquake activity to oil and gas industry disposal wells, a new study suggests such artificial earthquakes are less intense than naturally occurring temblors.

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Energy
5:04 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Oklahoma Wind Power Companies Run Into Headwinds

A wind-powered water pump and a wind-driven electricity turbine share a field near the town of Calumet in western Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz NPR

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 5:57 am

Oklahoma is the nation's fourth-largest generator of wind energy. But wind developers in the northeast corner of the state, where the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve lies, are up against stiff opposition from an unlikely pair of allies: environmentalists and oil interests.

Bob Hamilton, director of the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, has been fighting to block construction of a 68-turbine wind farm.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:41 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

Fracking Site Operator Faces Contempt Complaint After Acid Spill

Crews work to contain and clean up 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid that spilled near a hydraulic fracturing site near Hennessey, Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator filed a contempt complaint this week against the company overseeing a hydraulic fracturing operation in an oil field where 20,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled.

The spill could be the state’s largest related to fracking, says Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner.

The complaint, which accuses the operator of failing to prevent pollution, a violation of state oil and gas rules, directed Blake Vernon, the president of Blake Production Company, to appear before an administrative law judge on Sept. 10.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:09 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Oklahoma and Texas Are Home To Half Of U.S. Oil And Gas Drilling

U.S. Crude Oil Production, August 2014
U.S. Energy Information Agency

There were 211 drilling rigs operating in Oklahoma last week, the state’s highest level in almost six years, Bloomberg’s Lynn Doan and Richard Stubbe report.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
11:27 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Woman Injured In 2011 Earthquake Suing Disposal Well Operators

Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 5.7-magnitude earthquake that struck near Prague, Okla., in November 2011 toppled Sandra Ladra’s chimney, raining rocks “on her lap and legs.”

Ladra on Aug. 4 filed a lawsuit against energy companies that operate disposal wells she claims caused the quake. She is seeking $75,000 in actual damages plus punitive damages, the Journal Record‘s D. Ray Tuttle reports.

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