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environment

An amateur astronomer looks at chart on a red-filtered computer monitor at the 2016 Okie-Tex Star Party near Oklahoma's Black Mesa State Park.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Panhandle is empty and hard to get to. The region attracts few people, very little industry and none of the light pollution that accompany both. It’s a remote location that’s earning a national reputation as the perfect spot to stare deep into space.

Terry Zimmerman adjusts the eyepiece on the 12.5-inch f5 Dobsonian he built from a kit — technical talk for a telescope that’s so tall, you have to climb a stepladder to take a peek.

Anthropologist Noah Theriault contributes to the blog Inhabiting the Anthropocene, which examines how humans have influenced climate and the environment. He'll discuss this proposed geological epoch with Suzette Grillot.

But first, we check in with Rebecca Cruise, who's in Germany. The country recently saw four violent attacks in less than a week. 

In January 2015, drought stricken Waurika Lake was dangerously low.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

There’s a $1 billion hole in the state budget that has consequences for Oklahoma’s environment and natural resources. A controversial state question could pit farmer against farmer. The ground beneath Oklahoma is shaking — figuratively and literally in 2016 — and StateImpact is on it.

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.

The Giant Catfish Of Virginia

Aug 5, 2015

Up until the latter part of the 20th century, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and corresponding state agencies were practically in the business of introducing new fish to waterways for recreational and food purposes.

In the 1970s, blue catfish made it to Virginia’s rivers. The philosophy of introducing non-native fish is a thing of the past. But the catfish are still around, and some of them are now getting very, very large.

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.

China is gaining ground in a land dispute with its neighbors - literally. Rebecca Cruise discusses the country’s rapid environmental transformation of an archipelago in the South China Sea.

Then Arun Gandhi, the grandson of legendary Indian civil rights leader Mahatma Gandhi, talks about lessons from his grandfather and applying his family’s legacy to the 21st century.

Satellite images from March 17, 2015 show new structures and construction equipment present on Mischief Reef in the South China Sea
DigitalGlobe/Asia Maritime Transparency Institute / Center for Strategic and International Studies

China is gaining ground in a land dispute with its neighbors – literally.

For decades, China, Vietnam, and the Philippines have fought over an archipelago known as the Spratly Islands.

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.
KOMUnews / Flickr

Oklahoma voters have at least a year before seeing for and against state questions on the ballot in November 2016. But you might want to get used to hearing this phrase now: right-to-farm. It’s a divisive national issue that’s made its way to the Sooner State, and puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights activists.

All this week, we’re talking about energy issues in the U.S. Today, we look at hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the process of injecting chemicals and water into rock to release natural gas and oil.

Though fracking has been going on in the U.S. for years, the debate over it has reached a fever pitch. Last month, New York became the first state with significant natural gas reserves to ban fracking, after completing a long-awaited report on health and environmental impacts.

Ozone is a major contributor to smog, seen here blanketing Los Angeles.
Pieter Edelman / Flickr

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal for stricter ozone standards has been praised by environmentalists as a step in the right direction and derided by industry groups, which argue the rules will cost jobs and lead to higher prices for electricity and natural gas.

Envisioning Landscapes Of Our Very Distant Future

Sep 15, 2014

A few minutes before my flight to Helsinki touched down, I looked out the window at Finland's flat, snowy, forested landscape. It appeared still and serene.

It was December 2011, and I was moving to Finland to conduct anthropological fieldwork among experts developing what might, in the early 2020s, become the world's first operational geological repository for high-level nuclear waste.

A sinkhole near the Tar Creek/Picher Superfund site in Northeast Oklahoma.
Janice Waltzer / Flickr Creative Commons

A Native American tribe in Oklahoma is poised to become the first tribe in the country to lead and manage the cleanup of a federal hazardous waste site.

The Quapaw Tribe is cleaning up a site where a Catholic church and boarding school that tribal members attended once stood. The land was later leased to various companies and mined for lead and zinc. When mining stopped, large piles of leftover mining waste were left behind. This caused health problems for residents.

USDAgov / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance on Monday filed a lawsuit against the federal government, accusing the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of “colluding” with environmental groups to bypass public rule-making procedures to enact endangered species regulations.

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.

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