Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

As Oklahoma Officials Resist, Utilities On Path To Comply With Pollution Cuts

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. But Oklahoma’s largest electric utilities have a big head start cutting back on coal, and are already on their way to compliance. ‘RETIRED IN PLACE’ At Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s Northeast Station, near Oologah, workers are climbing all over the massive metal frame of a...
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Led by an 8.5 percent drop in China's Shanghai composite index, U.S. and global stock markets took a dive Monday. Shortly after opening, the Dow Jones index fell by more than 1,000 points, or 5 percent. The Dow then zigzagged to close at 15,871, losing about 3.6 percent of its value.

Headlines for Monday, August 24, 2015:

  • Oklahoma’s labor commissioner gets stabbed to death at an Oklahoma City restaurant. (NewsOK)

  • Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences is trying to fill the need for rural doctors. (Stillwater News Press)

  • A new system could slow down doctor’s offices and insurance agencies. (Journal Record)

ok.gov/odol

Police say Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello has been stabbed to death at a fast-food restaurant and his adult son has been taken into custody.

Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Paco Balderrama said in a statement late Sunday night that officers responded to a report of a stabbing at a Braum's restaurant and found Costello, who had been stabbed multiple times in the head and neck area. Costello was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Students with physical and mental disabilities are much more likely to be disciplined than other students in the state, according to Oklahoma Watch’s Nate Robson.

Linda N. / Flickr

Oklahoma Gas and Electric is proposing a new “demand charge” be levied on customers who install rooftop solar panels or small wind turbines.

The suggested rate structure was filed with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which has to approve so-called “distributed generation” tariffs for OG&E and Public Service Co. by the end of the year, The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports. OG&E says the new billing structure will eliminate the “subsidization” of solar customers by traditional customers:

The subsidization issue was one used by OG&E and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma to push for Senate Bill 1456, which passed in 2014.

The utilities said distributed generation customers still rely on the grid for electricity when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. Under current billing options, some fixed costs are captured in the kilowatt-hour energy charges that vary by customer usage. The utilities claim rooftop solar users aren’t paying their fair share for poles, transformers, transmission lines and other fixed costs at the times of the day when they’re getting most of their electricity from solar generation.

Headlines for Friday, August 21, 2015:

  • State Senator pleads guilty to embezzlement charges. (Tulsa World)
  • Muscogee (Creek) Nation faces an $18M gaming budget shortfall. (Tulsa World)

  • Oklahoma County misses a deadline on an October vote for a new jail. (Journal Record)

oksenate.gov

The leader of the Oklahoma Senate says federal charges against Republican Sen. Rick Brinkley of Owasso are serious crimes that call for his immediate resignation.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman of Sapulpa issued a statement Thursday shortly after Brinkley submitted a letter of resignation, effective immediately.

Brinkley stepped down after federal prosecutors charged him with five counts of wire fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return in a scheme that involved taking $1.8 million from the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa.

TOHO / Sony Pictures

This year’s El Niño might be the strongest ever. The phenomenon — marked by unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America — means more precipitation could be on the way for Oklahoma. The state’s wheat farmers are hopeful, but know too much rain at the wrong time can be ruinous.

Mike Rosen runs a grain elevator near Kingfisher. He says Oklahoma’s wheat farmers can’t seem to catch a break.

Emily Wendler / KOSU

The State Department of Education wants more Oklahoma kids to go to college. So they’re launching a pilot program that would make it easier for all students to apply. 

The Superintendent of Public Instruction, Joy Hofmeister, announced the Department's plan to make the college entrance exam, the ACT, free for all high school juniors for the following year. 

Headlines for Thursday, August 20, 2015:

  • Oil prices drop to lowest level in more than six years. (NewsOK)

  • Oklahoma high-school juniors can now take the ACT exam for free. (News9)

  • Another state Senator comes up with a plan for the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust. (Journal Record)

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