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Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As earthquakes continue to shake the state and researchers study links to drilling, Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator has changed the way it approves permits for injection wells.

Oil and water have long mixed in Oklahoma and other petroleum states. In the early days of the U.S. oil boom, drillers were focused on finding ways to separate water from the oil they were pumping to the surface.

AMK713 / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal production tax credit on renewable energy production keeps expiring and getting renewed by Congress, creating a lot of uncertainty in the wind energy industry. Still, by the end of 2013, there were two new wind projects under construction in Oklahoma, and the national trend was toward wind.

Meredithw / Flickr Creative Commons

A new poll shows 64 percent of Oklahoma voters oppose state tax incentives for horizontal drilling and support eliminating the incentive to pay for other government services.

Oklahoma levies a 7 percent tax on oil and gas production, but the horizontal drilling incentive lowers the rate to 1 percent for the first 48 months of production. The incentive expires in 2015, and some Oklahoma lawmakers are pushing to make the reduced rate permanent.

A Kerr-McGee service station and refinery in Wynnewood, photographed in 1974.
Kerr-McGee Corporation Collection / Oklahoma Historical Society

Anadarko Petroleum on Thursday agreed to pay more than $5 billion for an immense environmental cleanup that includes U.S. sites contaminated by nuclear fuel, rocket fuel waste and wood creosote.

The case was brought by a trust representing the U.S. government, 11 states, Indian tribes and individuals affected by the contamination, and sought funds for cleanups at 2,700 sites in 47 states.

A wind turbine near Calumet, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Solar panel and wind turbine technology is improving rapidly, and many small-scale customers are excited by the potential to generate electricity and sell it — outright, or for credit — back to the grid.

alphageek / Flickr Creative Commons

For a fee, most municipalities will give contractors and other industrial users a special water meter and temporary access to a city fire hydrant. The meters and hydrant access are often used for construction sites, and the buyer usually pays a higher per-gallon water rate for the high-flow access.

Don Millican, the Chief Financial Officer of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Kaiser-Francis Oil Company has a lot in common with other storied Oklahoma energy empires. The company has by-the-bootstrap entrepreneurial origins, it’s been battered by boom and bust, and it’s helmed by a billionaire CEO who has weathered controversy and been showered with praise.

But the Tulsa-based exploration and production company is unique in one surprising way: It isn’t pushing for oil and gas tax cuts.

A wind turbine near Calumet, Okla.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A study commissioned by The Wind Coalition says developers have invested more than $6 billion in Oklahoma's wind energy industry.

The study released Wednesday says there are 26 active wind farms in the state. Oklahoma ranks sixth in the nation in the amount of wind energy generated for consumers. That's enough to power almost 770,000 homes each year.

Joe Bush, owner of a ranch near Shidler, Okla., has signed agreements to lease land for two wind farms. Bush worries a 2014 bill that would impose a moratorium on some wind-energy projects would prevent the wind farms from being built.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is one of the country’s top wind-energy producers, and companies want to build more turbines across the state.

For many landowners, wind farms can be a financial windfall. But as wind energy moves into regions unaccustomed to turbines, opponents have taken the fight to the state Capitol.

A disposal well in Northern Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oil and gas industry-related waste water injection may have triggered a cascading sequence of earthquakes that culminated in Oklahoma’s largest earthquake ever recorded, the 5.7-magnitude temblor that struck near Prague in November 2011, a new peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Researchsuggests.

Gabriel Pollard / Flickr Creative Commons

Wind energy accounted for 14.8 percent of the electricity generated in Oklahoma in 2013, an American Wind Energy analysis of data from the U.S. Energy Information Agency show.

Oklahoma now ranks No. 7 nationally, a step up from the No. 9 ranking the state earned in 2012 when wind power comprised 10.5 percent of the state’s energy mix, according to the wind industry trade group.

seismic readout
Great Beyond / Flickr

Very few Oklahomans carry earthquake insurance, less than 1 percent. But that’s beginning to change as the state experiences more and more temblors.

After reaching a national average of just over $4 per gallon, and around $5 in some spots in the midwest, propane prices are falling, mainly because of lighter demand amid warming temperatures.

Still, though, the current average of $3.48 per gallon is more than a dollar higher than the price this time last year.

A wind farm outside of Woodward in northwestern Oklahoma.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Western Oklahoma is on the forefront of U.S. wind energy development, and has been for more than a decade. But as wind farm projects creep east, they’re meeting more resistance from landowners and increased involvement from the state legislature.

Meredithw / Flickr Creative Commons

Horizontal drilling has revolutionized the energy industry, and helped unlock oil and gas trapped in tight shale formations that had, for decades, eluded petroleum producers.

But Oklahoma’s oil and gas rules were established when traditional, vertical drilling was the norm. Balancing the regulatory needs of horizontal drillers and vertical drillers — especially those producing in the same formation — can be tricky.

Propane customer Shawn Davies vowed not to refill his tank until priced drop significantly.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 400,000 or so Oklahomans who rely on propane for heat know the routine: When the weather is warm, propane is cheap. When it gets cold, and demand goes up, so does the price.

But what happened this winter is unprecedented. Prices are starting to ease after blowing past all-time records in January, reaching a national average of more than $4 a gallon.

Sarah Nichols / Flickr Creative Commons

The shale gas drilling boom has been a blessing to energy states like Oklahoma, which has low unemployment and an economy that, thanks in part to oil and gas production, was insulated from the worst effects of the Great Recession.

Magnitude 2.0 and greater Oklahoma earthquakes from 1990-2014.
EQ Charts

EQ Charts has created a really great visual of Oklahoma’s earthquake “swarm.” The chart was built with data from the U.S. Geological Survey, and shows quakes of 2.0-magnitude or greater. Most people can feel earthquakes that are 3.0-magnitude or greater.

Earthquakes have increased exponentially in Oklahoma, a phenomenon federal and university seismologists have linked to disposal wells used by the oil and gas industry.

Tyler Lane pulls up a wooden marker covered with oily sludge in the land behind his Bristow home. Lane uses stakes and rope to keep his two children out of the oiliest, most dangerous parts of his property, which sits atop the abandoned Wilcox Refinery, O
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

You can’t see it from street, or when you look out the window of Glen Jones’ parents’ house, but the Wilcox Refinery is still here. Parts of it, anyway.

In December 2013, the abandoned refinery complex near Bristow became Oklahoma’s newest federal Superfund site. The Wilcox Refinery closed more than 50 years ago, but lead and other toxic chemicals remain, and residents are uneasy about the long cleanup ahead.

Mark Turnauckas / Flickr Creative Commons

Public Service Company of Oklahoma — which provides electricity to more than a half-million Oklahomans — can move ahead with plans to retire its coal-fired power plants, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.

The agreement between the utility, state, and EPA is expected to bring PSO into compliance with regional haze regulations, the federal government’s effort to clear the air at national parks and wildlife refuges.

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