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.

Ways to Connect

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) speaks to an audience Sept 2, 2015 at the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio traveled to Oklahoma City Wednesday to preview his national energy strategy.

The junior Republican Senator from Florida’s plan centers on expanding the oil and gas industry and rolling back regulations championed by President Obama.

Workers uncap a well in the western Oklahoma oil field in 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Slumping oil prices have fueled thousands of job losses in big energy states like Oklahoma, which is “gripped by a mini-recession,” economist Mark Snead tells the Journal Record‘s Kirby Lee Davis:

“The notion that Oklahoma has diversified away from oil and gas is, at this point, many, many years away,” he said.

The Grand River Dam Authority's coal-fired plant in Chouteau, Okla., which is impacted by the Regional Haze Rule.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan enraged many top officials in Oklahoma, who argued the rules were an expensive, unnecessary overreach by the federal government.

But the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could create opportunities in Oklahoma, researchers and officials say.


rooftop solar panels
Michael Coghlan / Flickr

Oklahoma Gas and Electric is proposing a new “demand charge” be levied on customers who install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.

Geoff Livingston / Flickr

The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed the first federal limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to cut the methane levels recorded in 2012 by at least 40 percent by 2025.

U.S. Geological Survey

A boom of earthquakes linked to oil and gas production “has and will continue to have sharp economic consequences” in Oklahoma and other states experiencing man-made seismicity,  Standard and Poor’s Rating Services write in a recent report.

Algae grow on the floor of the pipe room in the Hugo water plant because water leaks constantly, as shown in this late July photo.
Sarah Terry-Cobo / The Journal Record

About 7,000 residents in Hugo lived for months with unsafe drinking water because a private company improperly disinfected municipal water supplies and misreported data to local and state officials.

Woodward County, Oklahoma, is one of the most climate-skeptical counties in the United States, according to estimates from the Yale Project on Climate Communication. 

CNN columnist John Sutter recently visited the oil-patch county — where nearly one-third of the county’s 21,000 residents don’t believe climate change is occurring — on a simple expedition:

An oil and gas operation in Logan County, Okla., in 2015.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma oil and gas authorities on Monday ordered the operators of 23 disposal wells in two counties to reduce the amount of wastewater pumped underground.

Pages