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utilities

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

Oil prices are on the rebound, which should eventually generate revenue and help Oklahoma’s state budget situation. Still, another budget hole — that could be as large as $600 million — will likely have to be filled during the 2017 legislative session. One emerging idea that could put an extra billion dollars in state coffers: Selling the Grand River Dam Authority.

Susan Holmes in the living room of her home in Bokoshe, Oklahoma.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt shakes hands at the state Capitol after the annual State of the State address.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Clean Power Plan — President Barack Obama’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants — won’t be implemented until after a lawsuit from 27 states, including Oklahoma, is resolved.

The Rev. Dr. Bruce Prescott speaks during Tuesday's protest on the steps of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission as other demonstrators hold signs voicing opposition to OG&E's demand charge proposal.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gas and Electric, the state’s largest electricity utility, wants regulators to approve new fees for customers who install solar panels. The request is now in the hands of Oklahoma’s three-member Corporation Commission, which has to weigh the real cost of reliable electricity and put a fair value on power from the sun.

Water4's Steve Stewart demonstrates the electricity-free water pump the organization uses in its charitable work in Africa.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s small water systems face a big problem: Drinking water standards are getting stricter, their treatment plants are becoming obsolete, and many cities and towns can’t get the loans and grants needed for expensive upgrades.

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.

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

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan enraged many top officials in Oklahoma, who argued the rules were an expensive, unnecessary overreach by the federal government.

But the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could create opportunities in Oklahoma, researchers and officials say.


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.

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.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.
Granger Meador / Flickr

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday blocked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s attempt to curb mercury and other toxic emissions from coal-fired power plants across the country.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

On Monday an administrative law judge recommended Oklahoma’s oil, gas, and utility regulator reject several key components of Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s billion-dollar plan to raise rates in order to pay for efforts to comply with Environmental Protection Agency rules.

The Journal Record’s managing editor Adam Brooks says the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has been holding hearings on preapproval of OG&E’s $1.1 billion request. It’s split up into $700 million to get several plants into compliance with the EPA guidelines, plus another $400 million in upgrades to the plant in Mustang west of Oklahoma City. To pay for that, the utility would raise residential and consumer rates by about 19 percent over five years.

OG&E's coal-fired power plant in Muskogee, Okla.
Granger Meador / Flickr

An Oklahoma Corporation Commission Administrative Law Judge recommended state regulators reject several “major portions” of Oklahoma Gas & Electric’s proposal to recover environmental compliance costs.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) at an impromptu news conference during climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009.
Andrew Revkin / Flickr

The Republican wave that put the party back in full control of Congress also put Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe back in charge of the Senate committee that oversees the country’s environmental policies.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma has been battling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over new environmental regulations since Gov.

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.

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

State Attorney General Scott Pruitt and Oklahoma’s largest utility company, OG&E,have been fighting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Haze Rule since the federal agency rejected Oklahoma’s plan to reduce sulfur dioxide pollution at its coal-fired power plants in 2011.

Meers area resident Bill Cunningham looks for haze over the Wichita Mountains from the top of Mt. Scott.
Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Federal regulators are forcing Oklahoma’s largest utility companies to lower emissions at their coal fired power plants or shut them down. The goal of the EPA’s Regional Haze Rule is to clear the air on federal lands like national parks and refuges.

a blue trash can
hermitsmoores / Flickr Creative Commons

In the more rural parts of Oklahoma City there are thousands of residents who don’t pay for trash pickup, and they never have.

Even in 1994, when public health concerns drove the city council to add more than 10,000 rural homes to trash collection routes, many residents started a boycott that’s still going almost 20 years later, as The Oklahoman‘s William Crum reports:

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal appeals court in July ruled the EPA can implement its own plan to limit sulfur dioxide emissions at coal-fired power plants over the state’s plan. Oklahoma Gas & Electric — the state’s largest utility — and state Attorney General Scott Pruitt then asked for another hearing. On Thursday, that request was denied.

In an interview with StateImpact, OG&E spokeswoman Kathleen O’Shea says the next step — if the parties opposed to the EPA regulations continue to take the legal route — would be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Doug Wertman / Flickr Creative Commons

The summer was tough on the Grand River Dam Authority’s relationship with Gov. Mary Fallin.

It started when the GRDA announced plans earlier this year to spend almost $400 million to build a new natural gas power plant, and upgrade its newest coal-fired plant in compliance with new federal regulations.

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