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.
When the massive EF5 tornado ripped through Moore on May 20, it took out homes and business alike. Since then, the Moore City Council has been considering updating building codes to make homes safer. But as the Journal Record‘s Molly M. Flemming reports, the city’s construction standards for commercial buildings aren’t being altered much:
Those codes are likely to stay the same, with one slight change.
The clash between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Oklahoma Gas & Electric over pollution from coal-fired power plants continues to escalate.
On Tuesday, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and OG&E both asked the 10thU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its July decision in favor of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. At issue was whether EPA has the authority to usurp the state’s plan for limiting haze on federal land; a plan EPA has deemed inadequate.
There’s a report out from a group of environmental organizations including Waterkeeper Alliance and the Sierra Club that says there are “essentially no limits” on the amounts toxic metals coal-fired power plants can dump into Oklahoma’s waterways.
The summer was tough on the Grand River Dam Authority’s relationship with Gov. Mary Fallin.
It started when the GRDA announced plans earlier this year to spend almost $400 million to build a new natural gas power plant, and upgrade its newest coal-fired plant in compliance with new federal regulations.
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.
Kiowa historian Phil "Joe Fish" DuPoint and Kiowa museum director Amie Tah-Bone stand at the base of Longhorn Mountain, near Coopertown, Okla. DuPoint and Tah-Bone say a new limestone mine will desecrate the mountain, which the tribe considers a sacred site and source of ceremonial cedar.
Limestone mining on Longhorn Mountain, northwest of Lawton, could start anytime. The company that leases the land on the western side has a permit to mine, and just needs to put up some bond money with the state Department of Mines to get started.
This is a surprise to the Kiowa Tribe, which has used Longhorn Mountain for hundreds of years as a temple where tribe members pray, have vision quests and retrieve sacred cedar used in many rituals.
But the mining shouldn’t come as a surprise. Cushing, Okla.-based Material Service Corporation — and President Larry Stewart — has had a permit for a 370-acre mine on the site for almost 10 years. It’s up to the company to decide when and whether to go forward with the project.
For almost 150 years, the Kiowa Tribe has used Longhorn Mountain for ceremonies and to gather the cedar used to purify their homes. But tribal leaders say the sacred site is being threatened by gravel mining.
Two of the mountain’s five private landowners have leased water and property rights to Cushing-based Material Service of Oklahoma, Inc. Kristi Eaton reports with the Associated Press reports: