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.

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Piles of crushed limestone along railroad tracks near Mill Creek, Okla.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma County District Judge Barbara Swinton on Wednesday ordered the long disputed limits on how much water can be taken from one of the state’s most sensitive aquifers — the Arbuckle-Simpson in south-central Oklahoma — to go forward. The court was hearing an appeal of the limit from groups including the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, and mining company TXI — all petitioners in the case. During the hearing, their attorneys...

Several Oklahoma farmers wander through a field of broad-leafed cover crops during a state Conservation Commission workshop in Dewey County in western Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Generations of tilling and planting on the same land have left Oklahoma’s soil in poor shape. And if farmers don’t change the way they grow crops, feeding the future won’t be easy. As Slapout, Okla., farmer Jordan Shearer puts it: “We’re creating a desert environment by plowing the damn ground.” Taking A Toll More than 800 million tons of topsoil blew away in a single year during the Dust Bowl . In response, farmers planted trees, irrigated crops and changed plowing techniques to prevent...

Hugo Lake Dam following recording-breaking rainfall in May 2015.
USACETULSA / Flickr

The company that runs Hugo’s water treatment plant is contesting the $3.17 million fine the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality levied against it for — as the Journal Record ‘s Sarah Terry-Cobo reported in August — not using “enough chlorine for more than 300 days over the course of two years.” The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality says UK-based Severn Trent Services badly mishandled its responsibility to deliver clean water to the city. In December 2014, the agency found...

Northeast Station Manager Mark Barton at the base of the stack for coal-fired power units 3 and 4.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma officials are fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the Obama’s administration’s new Clean Power Plan , the federal government’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. But Oklahoma’s largest electric utilities have a big head start cutting back on coal, and are already on their way to compliance. 'Retired In Place' are climbing all over the massive metal frame of a cubed-shaped building called a “baghouse.” Inside, thousands of bags will capture...

A scene from 1967's "Son of Godzilla."
Toho / Sony Pictures

This year’s El Niño might be the strongest ever . The phenomenon — marked by unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America — means more precipitation could be on the way for Oklahoma. The state’s wheat farmers are hopeful, but know too much rain at the wrong time can be ruinous. Mike Rosen runs a grain elevator near Kingfisher. He says Oklahoma’s wheat farmers can’t seem to catch a break. “We’ve gone four years without moisture in the winter months, and it’s been...

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

Even before the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan was finalized, politicians in Oklahoma were already fighting it in the court of public opinion, and in real court, too . And Gov. Mary Fallin has vowed that Oklahoma will not submit a state compliance plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But as Paul Monies with The Oklahoman reports , Oklahoma’s largest utility companies say they’re already on track to meet the carbon-reduction goals in the federal plan: Politically, the...

Beekeeper Tim McCoy removes a rogue honeybees have from an electrical box in farmland near Weatherford, Okla in this June 2015 photo.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma lost a greater percentage of its honeybee colonies than any other state over the last year. On Tuesday, beekeepers, scientists, and farmers gathered at Langston University’s Oklahoma City campus to give their input on a plan to better protect pollinators of all kinds. The discussion centered on balancing the need to apply pesticides to crops, with the dangers those chemicals pose to pollinating insects. The main point of contention was whether to make the location of managed colonies...

OWRB water resources geologists Derrick Wagner and Jessica Correll analyze readings from their well at the Spencer Mesonet station.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Almost half of the water used by Oklahomans comes from aquifers , and four years of drought increased that reliance . This year’s record-setting rainfall filled up the state’s lakes, but recharging aquifers doesn’t happen so quickly. The Oklahoma Water Resources Board uses underground sensors to monitor groundwater levels at several sites across the state. But the sensors’ accuracy needs to be checked manually, which means piling into an SUV with scientists and heading to the country. On a...

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday finalized its Clean Power Plan , the Obama Administration’s attempt to cut carbon emissions from power plants by more than 30 percent nationwide. Though just finalized, the plan has been in the works for two years, and Oklahoma officials have opposed it every step of the way. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has already filed two lawsuits against the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, in July calling it “an unlawful attempt to expand...

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. Transcript AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: The U.S. has more than 11,000 flood control dams. Many were built more than half a century ago, and delayed maintenance is starting to catch up with them. The problem is particularly acute in Oklahoma, which has more than 2000 dams and which, this year, has record rainfall. Logan Layden of StateImpact Oklahoma reports. LOGAN LAYDEN, BYLINE: Catastrophic flooding used to be part of life in Oklahoma. ...

Workers harvesting wheat on a farm near Altus, Okla., in June 2015.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The decades-old embargo on trade with communist Cuba cuts U.S. goods off from what would be one of their nearest international destinations. That could be changing now that the two countries are restoring diplomatic relations . And as The Oklahoman business writer Leilah Naifeh reports , Oklahoma’s wheat farmers stand to benefit. A lot. While everything is still up in the air and nothing can be quantified, [Mark Hodges, contractor with Plains Grains Inc. and Oklahoma Genetics Inc.] predicts...

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Tulsa office snapped this photo of the Webbers Falls Lock and Dam in late May 2015.
USACETULSA / Flickr

Two and a half million tons of wheat, fertilizer, steel, and manufacturing goods pass through the Port of Catoosa each year. But not in 2015. The nation’s most inland seaport, located near Tulsa, shut down after historic spring rains and is still struggling to rebound. From the Port of Catoosa , barges makes their way down the Verdigris River, to the Arkansas River and east to the Mississippi along the McClellan-Kerr Navigation system , Oklahoma’s water link to the Gulf of Mexico and river...

Oil-field workers in November 2014 tending to American Energy-Woodford's Judge South well near Perkins, Okla., shortly after the Oklahoma Corporation Commission ordered it temporarily shut-in.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

In November 2011, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck near Prague, Okla ., causing significant damage and injuring two people. Right away, the possibility that the disposal of wastewater by injecting it deep into the earth — part of the hydraulic fracturing process — was to blame came up. But EnergyWire ‘s Mike Soraghan routed through thousand of emails and documents he got from Fallin’s office through the Oklahoma Open Records Act, and found that the governor was in no rush to point the finger...

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt prepares to greet Gov. Mary Fallin at the 2013 State of the State address at the state Capitol.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

One week after suing the Environmental Protection Agency over its Clean Power Plan, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is filing another lawsuit against the EPA. Wednesday’s lawsuit is over the recently finalized Waters of the United States rule, an attempt to clarify what bodies of water qualify for federal protection. But what the EPA says is nothing more than a tweak to current rules farmers won’t even notice, Pruitt argues is vast government overreach that will extend to every pond...

Oklahoma Conservation Commission Watershed Technitian Dennis Boney inspects damage to Wildhorse 80's spillway in Garvin County.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

More than 2,000 dams in Oklahoma have protected lives and property from flooding for decades. But age is catching up with them, and many need repairs. And this spring’s record rainfall is putting dams under even more pressure. Catastrophic flooding used to just be part of life in Oklahoma . Ask anyone who was around in the late 1950s, like Allen Hensley, who grew up on Rock Creek in south-central Oklahoma. “My dad took me down and showed me Rock Creek when I was a boy; and a beautiful corn...

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