Joe Wertz

StateImpact Oklahoma

Joe has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Ways to Connect

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Speaking at a media event atop an interstate overpass construction site in Norman, U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe told a small crowd Friday that President Donald Trump is serious about a proposed $1 trillion national infrastructure plan.

The Republican is chair of a Senate subcommittee that oversees such programs and he said Oklahoma stands to benefit from a new focus for federal funding.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A former accountant and compliance officer for the Oklahoma Beef Council faces federal bank fraud and false tax return charges after an probe into suspected embezzlement of more than $2.6 million.

The Beef Council, which is funded by a mandatory $1-per-head “check-off” fee paid every time ranchers and producers sell an animal, filed a civil lawsuit in October 2016 against the former employee, Melissa Morton.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma oil executives have argued for years over a new law that would let companies drill and frack longer horizontal wells in new areas.

Right now, companies with leases in non-shale rock formations can’t drill horizontal wells more than a mile long. This one-mile limit is frustrating many of the most active drillers in Oklahoma who say companies, shareholders, mineral owners and the state’s tax coffers are missing out on millions in new development from booming oil fields. The potential is a promising political incentive, given the state’s nearly $900 million budget hole.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency may ask three oil and gas companies to shut down disposal wells as investigators look for the source of a saltwater leak that has plagued the area for nine months.

Local ranchers and inspectors toured the Bird Creek contamination site on the Chapman Ranch last week, the Tulsa World‘s Kelly Bostian reports:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The strongest earthquake ever recorded in Oklahoma may have been triggered by oil and gas activity that started and stopped years before the shaking, newly published research suggests.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The most practical alternative to earthquake-triggering oilfield disposal wells is for energy companies to reuse the wastewater instead of injecting it underground, leaders of a research group working on behalf of the state said Wednesday.

AVOIDING INJECTION

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahomans joined thousands of people in more than 600 cities on Saturday in a march for scientific freedom organized to send a message to state and national lawmakers.

OAKLEYORIGINALS / FLICKR

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday signed legislation bringing to an early end the last major tax incentive for the wind industry.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The 2017 legislative session is beyond the halfway point and the clock is ticking on lawmakers who have until the end of May to set the state’s budget and plug an $870 million funding hole. Legislators say every option is on the table, including one with growing public support: Increasing taxes on oil and gas.

First, it was state Democrats like minority leader Scott Inman, who have long argued Oklahoma’s taxes are too generous for oil and gas companies.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A federal judge on Tuesday moved to dismiss a lawsuit the Sierra Club filed against Oklahoma energy companies over earthquakes linked to oil and gas activity.

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