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A lawsuit over recently signed legislation that changes state oil and gas tax rates will be heard by the Oklahoma Supreme Court today, a constitutional challenge that could have broad impact on industry and legislative procedure.

I broke down the lawsuit on an Oklahoma News Report segment with OETA’s Dick Pryor, which you can watch above. But there are five things you need to know about today’s hearing, which could hinge on legal subtleties and word interpretations.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

The discovery of two barn oils coated in oil has prompted an investigation of a “neglected” oil field site in northwest Oklahoma.

Both owls died, the Enid News & Eagle reported Tuesday.

Bob Hamilton, director of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is moving up the national ranks in wind-generated electricity. But as wind farms expand into northeastern Oklahoma, developers are facing a team of unlikely allies: oil interests and environmentalists.

Wind farm developers encounter opposition wherever projects are planned, but the debate in Oklahoma is perhaps most magnified in Osage County, where there’s a confluence of money, government and prairie politics.

Voters want to see the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which currently oversees all other electrical generating facilities in the state except for electricity created by wind, to regulate wind energy as well, with 72.4 percent in support.

Sam Beebe / Flickr Creative Commons

In the wake of deadly derailments, fiery explosions and dangerous spills, the federal government in May ordered railroads to share with state authorities more information about some crude oil shipments.

Waterkeeper Alliance Inc. / Flickr Creative Commons

Surging oil production in states like North Dakota has outpaced pipeline capacity, and the energy industry has turned to railroads to transport oil from fields to refineries.

Future temperature changes pose serious risks to the climate-sensitive agricultural and energy industries in Oklahoma and other Great Plains states, a new study on the business and economic effects of climate change concludes.

Oklahoma's average summer temperature range is expected to increase from 81.7-83.58°F to 87.0-93.51°F from 2020 to 2099, the report predicts.

Dave Fehling / StateImpact Texas

In states with the most oil and gas drilling, including Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota, the U.S. Department of Labor has won back pay for over 4,000 energy industry workers in just the past year.

It totaled $6.7 million dollars, accounting for a third of all such settlements by all types of industries nationwide.

House Speaker Jeff Hickman (R-Fairview) at Gov. Mary Fallin's State of the State address - February 3, 2014.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A controversial bill setting the effective tax rate on new oil and gas wells was one of the capstones of the 2014 legislative session.

well site
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

An oil company seeking to build a disposal well in earthquake-prone Logan County has agreed to record additional pressure and volume measurements to get a permit from the state’s oil and gas regulator.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission on Thursday voted 2-0 to approve the disposal well for Kansas-based Slawson Exploration. Commissioner Dana Murphy abstained from the vote “saying she wanted to wait until more seismic data was available,” The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports:

Turbine nacelles for a wind farm project are collecting at a staging area in Osage County.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Wind-energy companies have high hopes for Osage County. It’s windy, of course, but unlike other windy areas of western Oklahoma, Osage County is a lot closer tothe heavy-duty electrical infrastructure needed to transport power from turbines to the grid.

Oklahoma Gas & Electric's coal-fired Sooner Plant in Red Rock, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule is meant to clear the air at national parks and wildlife refuges by reducing emissions from coal-fired power plants.

An oil well near a neighborhood in Yukon, Okla.
Becky McCray / Flickr Creative Commons

An alliance of national and state environmental groups on Tuesday asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set air pollution limits on oil and gas wells and production equipment.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Last week, we hosted a public forum on how climate change affects Oklahoma. A panel of experts took audience questions on water and agriculture, and if the discussion is any guide, Oklahomans are curious, frustrated and concerned about climate change.

The Picasso Café in Oklahoma City was standing room only. One by one, audience members took the microphone and posed questions to our panelists: Clay Pope, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, and Dr. David Engle, Director of Oklahoma State University’s Water Resources Center.

Kelly DeLay / Flickr Creative Commons

A new federal report bluntly warns that every region of the United States is already observing climate change-related affects to the environment and economy.

In Oklahoma and other Great Plains states, climate change from carbon emissions is changing crop growth cycles, increasing energy and water demand, altering rainfall patterns and leading to more frequent extreme weather and climate events, the report concludes.

Close-up of a Pump Jack
neillharmer / Flickr

Executives at Chesapeake Energy, Continental Resources and Devon Energy have proposed a plan for Oklahoma’s taxes on oil and natural gas production.

The proposal comes as legislators are debating state oil and gas taxes, which include an incentive for horizontal drilling that expires next year. The Oklahoman‘sAdam Wilmoth reports:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Betsy Searight and her husband John drove from all the way from New Jersey for this opportunity: Wake up at 4 a.m., huddle against the cold, and sit silently and motionless for hours hoping to watch a Lesser Prairie Chicken peep show.

After a long fight between Oklahoma and the U.S. government, the Lesser Prairie Chicken goes on the federal threatened species list later this month.

To find out how the listing will affect Oklahoma and why the bird is worth protecting, we took a trip to the High Plains of northwestern Oklahoma.

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed Senate Bill 1456, a measure that would allow regulated electric utilities to charge customers who generate electricity from rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.

Geoffrey Rhodes / Flickr Creative Commons

A new coal mining operation near Oologah Lake in northeast Oklahoma would disturb 11,000 feet of streambed and drain a pond in the Panther Creek watershed. But that’s not the problem.

The issue is over how to restore the damaged land after mining ends — and that depends on whose rules apply: the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality’s or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’.

Brian Kusler / Flickr Creative Commons

A legislative measure that would allow electricity utilities to charge higher rates to customers who generate electricity with small solar installations or wind turbines has passed an Oklahoma House committee and now awaits Gov. Mary Fallin’s signature.

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