KGOU

Logan Layden

Reporter for StateImpact Oklahoma

Logan Layden is a native of McAlester, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2009 and spent three years as a state capitol reporter and local host of All Things Considered for NPR member station KGOU in Norman.

Ways to Connect

A map from the EPA shows the location of the 125-acre Wilcox Oil Company Superfund site near Bristow, Okla.
Environmental Protection Agency

A site near Bristow, abandoned decades ago by a pair of oil refiners, has been added to the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of most hazardous national cleanup priorities.

The EPA on Dec. 12 added the Wilcox Oil Company site to the Superfund National Priorities List, a federal program that investigates and directs cleanup efforts at the country’s “most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites.”

U.S. Drought Monitor

Parts of Oklahoma have been suffering from severe and exceptional drought conditions for three straight years. That is a long time, especially for communities in western Oklahoma.

But this drought might be closer to its beginning than its end, and with little warning could encompass the entire state next year.

railroad oil cars on a track
Russ Allison Loar / Flickr Creative Commons

Some of the best new oil and gas plays are in some of the most remote areas of the country, where there’s little to no pipeline infrastructure to move freshly drilled crude out.

And getting the massive amounts of tracking sand to where is a major issue, too. The answer to both problems? Railroads, as The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

A grounded boat dock at Canton Lake, where Oklahoma City got billions of gallons of water in early 2013.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust has taken a lot of criticism the past few years over how it’s gone about securing enough water to meet the city’s needs.

Leflore County resident Alan Brady says the large berm in the background blocks the view of the mountains he had before mining started.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma and the federal government aren’t getting along.

From health insurance exchanges to power plant emissions, the Obama Administration just can’t seem to get Oklahoma to play ball.

And there’s a lesser-known fight that’s starting to get more attention — over coal mining. More specifically, how land is treated after it’s mined.

There’s a hearing underway in Poteau this week, where attorneys for Farrell-Cooper Mining Company are appealing federal violations at three of its former mines.

Dewey Bartlett
Dewey Bartlett for Mayor Facebook

Tulsa voters have re-elected Dewey Bartlett as their mayor.

Unofficial returns Tuesday showed Bartlett with 55 percent of the vote in his race against Kathy Taylor, who preceded Bartlett in office.

The mayor said at a victory party Tuesday evening that Taylor had called him to concede the race. He told supporters he would work to ensure the city creates jobs, fights crime and lives within its budget.

Taylor said that while she may have lost, Tulsa won because of an honest discussion about its future.

Dennis Frank / Flickr Creative Commons

Eastern Red Cedar trees are bad for Oklahoma. The volatile oils they contain can cause the trees to explode during wildfires, spreading embers over hundreds of yards. They crowd out other plants, force wildlife off their habitats, and steal rainfall — which is bad news during a drought.

As The Journal Record‘s Brian Brus reports, it’s been said each red cedar can guzzle dozens of gallons of water each day:

Lake Improvement Association / Flickr Creative Commons

There’s too much phosphorous in the vast majority of Oklahoma’s lakes and streams.

Excessive phosphorous and nitrogen leads to blue-green algae blooms, which can cause respiratory, eye, and stomach problems in people, and fish kills due to lack of oxygen.

Jeff Converse of the Canton Lake Association stands in front of a boat ramp he says has been surrounded by mud and weeds since Oklahoma City withdrew water from the lake in January.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Canton, Oklahoma — population 625 — is a town on the brink. Canton relies on lake season, and lake season never really got started this year.

At the first of the year, Oklahoma City took water from Canton Lake to meet demand at the height of the drought. While that decision kept faucets flowing in the metro, it threatens the very existence of Canton the community.

Welcome to Duncan, Okla. sign.
J. STEPHEN CONN / Flickr Creative Commons

City officials in Duncan, Okla., are looking for ways to keep from running out of water.

If drought conditions continue as they have over the last couple of years, the city of more than 23,000 will see its water supplies totally depleted by the end of 2016, according to a story in the Duncan Banner. 

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal appeals court in July ruled the EPA can implement its own plan to limit sulfur dioxide emissions at coal-fired power plants over the state’s plan. Oklahoma Gas & Electric — the state’s largest utility — and state Attorney General Scott Pruitt then asked for another hearing. On Thursday, that request was denied.

In an interview with StateImpact, OG&E spokeswoman Kathleen O’Shea says the next step — if the parties opposed to the EPA regulations continue to take the legal route — would be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Moving water from the southeast Oklahoma to Oklahoma City is highly controversial. The battle over who controls water across most of that part of the state still has the state, city and tribal governments tied up in court after more than two years.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Supporters let out a big cheer Wednesday after the Oklahoma Water Resources Board voted to cap the amount of water that can be taken from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer, the source of drinking water for communities across a large area of south-central Oklahoma.

The decision was 10 years in the making, and came about — in part — because some landowners were concerned that limestone and sand mining was draining the aquifer too quickly.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Many of the 1,500 or so residents of Konawa, in Seminole County, are once again without water as the town continues to grapple with the ongoing breakdown of the pipes, mains, and pumps that deliver water to homes and businesses.

USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

The declining population of lesser prairie chickens has been an issue for years. It was during the 1990s — and another drought — that the species was first proposed for federal protection.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Thousands of federal workers in Oklahoma were furloughed because of the budget stalemate in Washington, D.C., including those in charge of operating and maintaining dozens of campsites and parks run by the U.S. government.

OakleyOriginals / Flickr Creative Commons

Federally run campsites, parks and pavilions at dozens of Oklahoma lakes controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have closed because of the federal government shutdown. But that’s not keeping people away from lakes like Texoma, Eufaula, and Tenkiller, it’s just funneling them into state parks instead.

EINAHPETS32 / Flickr Creative Commons

Thousands of federal workers in Oklahoma face furloughs and U.S. government services have been limited by the shutdown that began at midnight Oct. 1.

The shutdown also means national parks and recreation areas at federally run lakes are closed. That means no camping, fishing, boating or swimming at Eufaula, Texoma and Tenkiller, at least at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities.

The National Guard / Flickr Creative Commons

Supporters of an initiative petition to fund tornado shelters in Oklahoma schools are gathering the thousands of signatures needed to send the proposal to a statewide vote, but Gov. Mary Fallin won’t be on the list.

The Tulsa World‘s Barbara Hoberock reports the plan, which would use revenue from the state franchise tax to pay the $500 million debt, does not have the governor’s support:

Donald Ray prepares a cow for milking on his step-father's small dairy farm in rural Creek County.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The state Department of Agriculture says the number of Oklahomans choosing raw milk over pasteurized is growing.

But currently, the only way to get a hold of any is to physically drive to a dairy farm and buy it directly from the producer.

It’s illegal to deliver or advertise raw milk in Oklahoma — for now.

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