Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Emails Show EPA Boss Pruitt Worked In Concert With Industry He Now Regulates

Emails made public Wednesday show newly confirmed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt coordinated with the fossil fuel industry and political groups to fight federal environmental regulations when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general. The emails show oil and gas companies and electric utilities sent Pruitt talking points and drafts of letters opposing federal regulations on ozone, fracking and emissions from oil and gas wells — regulations the newly confirmed...

Read More

Crude prices are on the rise, drilling activity is ramping up, and Oklahoma’s oil and gas regulator wants to limit the volume of wastewater energy companies pump into underground disposal wells, an activity scientists say is fueling the state’s earthquake boom.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOOTLOOSE")

KENNY LOGGINS: (Singing) Got to, got to cut loose, footloose, kick off...

The White House is admitting that it discussed with the FBI media reports that Trump campaign officials were in contact with Russian intelligence agents and that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to publicly knock down the story.

FBI Director James Comey refused.

Headlines for Friday, February 24, 2017:

  • A state lawmaker faces an investigation of possible campaign violations. (NewsOK)

  • A panel investigating a state lawmaker makes no findings of sexual harassment despite recommending his expulsion. (Tulsa World)

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about the $34M revenue failure facing state agencies as well as the $787M budget shortfall facing state lawmakers, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett announces he will not seek a fifth term as leader of the state's capital city and lawmakers fast track a bill to get the state in compliance with the Federal Real ID Act.

twitter.com/okcthunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder and Chicago Bulls were able to pull off a multi-player deal before Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

The Thunder picked up reinforcements for Russell Westbrook by getting forwards Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Bulls. The Thunder also get a second-round pick in the 2018 draft for Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow.

McDermott is expected to boost an outside shooting attack that ranks 29th in 3-point shooting. Gibson fills a void left when Oklahoma City dealt Serge Ibaka in last year's NBA draft.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

The crippling five-year drought Oklahoma finally broke out of in 2015 is still fresh in the memory of the state’s water regulators, which is looking for ways the state can better withstand future dry spells. The Water Resources Board this week approved new rules to allow water to be stored underground, in aquifers.

Nearly 3/4 of Oklahoma voters oppose a half-cent tax on wind-generated electricity proposed by Gov. Mary Fallin, The Oklahoman’s Paul Monies reports a poll sponsored by a wind advocacy group shows. “The State Chamber also is voicing opposition to the plan.”

The Trump administration is rescinding protections for transgender students in public schools.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

Pages

KOSU's Michael Cross talks about political news in Oklahoma with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican political consultant Neva Hill.

Stream classical music via our partners at KUCO!

Education News

oksenate.gov

A Senate education committee passed a school choice measure on Monday, which riled a lot of debate from lawmakers.

Education Savings Accounts are a touchy subject. They allow parents to use state tax dollars, that would normally go to a public school, towards private school tuition instead.

Senator Rob Standridge says his ESA bill, SB560, is aimed at helping low-income families afford a better educational option for their child.

oksenate.gov

A Oklahoma Senate subcommittee passed seven bills about teacher pay on Wednesday, each one providing a different solution to the teacher pay problem.

Some of the bills propose $1,000 raises, others $10,000. Some provide funding mechanisms, while others do not.

Senator J.J. Dossett (D-Owasso) says this is just the beginning of the conversation. He says the legislature knows raising teacher pay is the right thing to do and they've just got to figure out the right way to do it.

With a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, Oklahoma lawmakers want accountability for every penny. But within the coffers of private charter school management companies are millions of dollars that lawmakers can't see. 

Senator Jason Smalley wants to know exactly how much schools are spending on administration. He filed a bill to find out, because right now he said it’s not clear.

“Are all the individuals that should be classified as administration costs, actually being reported as that?” he asked. “I think that’s what the greater conversation is.”

More Education News
A weekly two-hour show of Oklahoma music, from across the state. The show opens a window of Oklahoma music to the rest of the world.