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energy

Oklahoma State Capitol
Joseph Novak / Flickr

There’s only about a month left in Oklahoma’s 2015 legislative session, and if bills haven’t made it out of the chamber they started in by now, they’re dead. Of the bills of interest to us at StateImpact, the highest profile place new restrictions the wind industry and reduce local control over oil and gas activities. Wind farms have been getting a reimbursement on their property taxes, but that will almost certainly end if Senate Bill 498 get’s to Governor Mary Fallin’s desk. Last Thursday,...

Disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry are ‘very likely’ responsible for the recent surge of earthquakes in Oklahoma , the state seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey said Tuesday. “Based on observed seismicity rates and geographical trends following major oil and gas plays with large amounts of produced water, the rates and trends in seismicity are very unlikely to represent a naturally occurring process,” state seismologist Austin Holland and agency interim director...

The Blue Canyon wind farm near Carnegie, Okla.
Joe Wertz / KGOU

State legislators and wind industry representatives are close to a deal that would end two tax incentives and preserve a third, The Oklahoman ‘s Paul Monies reports : Under the tentative agreement, a five-year property tax exemption for new wind farms would end after 2016, but a zero-emissions tax credit would remain in place. Another incentive that isn’t used much by wind developers, the investment tax credit, would end Jan. 1, 2017. The changes would come through provisions in Senate Bills...

Bob Kerr on his ranch near Carnegie, Okla., which is flanked by turbines from the Blue Canyon Wind Farm.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Lawmakers have filed several measures targeting Oklahoma’s wind industry during the 2015 legislative session. The bills most likely to end up on the governor’s desk add regulation — like preventing new wind farms from being built near hospitals, schools and airports — and reduce wind energy tax credits. Bob Kerr has lived on his Caddo County ranch for 43 years. The nearest tow, Carnegie, is home to about 1,700 people — a sprawling metropolis in southwestern Oklahoma “When I first came here...

Workers with Shebester-Bechtel at an American Energy Woodford rig site in Payne County, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tax revenues from oil and natural gas production in March dropped to their lowest level since September 2002, a collapse that’s driving a slide in total revenues used to fund state government, new data show. Total collections in March 2015 were almost $28 million less than last year, State Treasurer Ken Miller said Monday when the new numbers were released. The period reflected in the data is based on a January average oil price of $47.66 a barrel — now above $51 — and, despite a rash of...

Officials in at least two cities have publicly questioned bills filed during the 2015 legislative session that would limit the local governments’ authority to regulate oil and gas activity. The bills’ authors say the measures are meant to prevent towns, cities and counties from banning or effectively banning oil and gas drilling and related production activities, like hydraulic fracturing. Officials in Norman and Stillwater, for their part, say the legislation is an overreach that could limit their ability to write ordinances to protect the health and safety of local residents.

windmills
mtneer_man / Flickr

Legislation adding siting restrictions and reporting requirements to new wind energy developments passed a House committee Tuesday. Senate Bill 808 is now the primary wind regulation bill for the 2015 legislative session, replacing the similarly worded House Bill 1549 , Rep. Earl Sears, R-Bartlesville, tells The Oklahoman ‘s Paul Monies :

A tanker truck pulling into a terminal at the oil hub in Cushing, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A booming U.S. oil industry has led to near-record amounts of oil production, which has helped drive down oil prices. The energy industry has responded by storing crude instead of selling it at discount rates. That has created a unique situation in Oklahoma, where a major oil storage hub is on track to fill up — completely. One-fifth of the country’s commercial crude oil storage capacity is located Cushing, Okla., a small city of about 7,900 in northeastern Oklahoma. On the city’s outskirts,...

Volunteers watching the polls in November 2014 in Denton, Texas, before voters approved a citywide ban on hydraulic fracturing.
Photomancer / Flickr

As legislation written to prevent counties and municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing and other oil and gas activities advances through the Oklahoma House and Senate, some city leaders and their advocates say the measures go too far and could have unintended consequences. 'Mess In Texas' Oklahoma lawmakers have filed at least eight bills that would prohibit municipal or county bans — or effective bans — on oil and gas drilling, production and related activities like hydraulic...

Demonstrators outside the Norman City Hall before a city council committee met to discuss changes to oil and gas drilling rules.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A proposed amendment to legislation limiting the power local governments have to regulate oil and gas operations expands the bill’s language to prevent cities and towns from enacting rules “effectively” banning drilling, fracking and related activities. House Bill 2178 was authored by Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, who also wrote the amendment. I’ve highlighted the proposed changes below: Original » A municipality, county, or other political subdivision may also establish setbacks and...

Austin Holland with the Oklahoma Geological Survey briefs Corporation Commissioners on new earthquake research.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Despite long-held suspicions that the state’s earthquake surge was linked to oil and gas activity , the Oklahoma Geological Survey stayed silent amid pressure from oil company executives, EnergyWire reports . For this and other interviews , State Seismologist Austin Holland acknowledges “intense personal interest” from energy company executives, but told reporter Mike Soraghan it never affected his scientific findings: But Holland and OGS have been the voice of skepticism in the scientific...

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss tensions between Israel and the United States ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next week, and European nations that are working to develop a more unified energy policy . Then, a conversation with art historian Maya Stanfield-Mazzi . She studies pre-Colombian art in the Andes, and says the work of South America’s Inca culture was abstract, without a clear narrative.

A new peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Science urges greater partnership between industry, government agencies and researchers in responding to the consequences of earthquakes triggered by oil and gas activity. The paper, authored by the U.S. Geological Survey and other federal scientists, as well as state seismologists, including the Oklahoma Geological Survey’s Austin Holland, also endorsed more transparency: For purposes of transparency and avoiding public distrust, it is...

Protestors outside a public meeting in Oklahoma City about an oil company's proposal to drill near Lake Hefner held signs and chanted "Stop fracking now" and "No more drilling."
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Senate Energy Committee approved a bill Thursday during its first meeting of the session that would give the state authority to regulate oil and gas operations.

Senate President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman, R...

Protestors outside a public meeting in Oklahoma City about an oil company's proposal to drill near Lake Hefner held signs and chanted "Stop fracking now" and "No more drilling."
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

When New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a statewide ban on fracking in 2014, Oklahoma Rep. Casey Murdock took notice. After voters in the city of Denton, Texas — just 40 miles south of the Oklahoma state line — approved a fracking ban in the Nov. 4 election, the Republican representative from Felt took action. “There is your anti-oil group,” the freshman lawmaker says. “We have activists outside the state that have come in and they’re pushing in these college cities.” Murdock’s measure,...

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