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

A report from members of the Oklahoma Energy Producers Alliance suggests horizontal drilling and fracking has economically damaged at least 450 older vertical wells in Kingfisher County alone.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Newly minted U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt spent his first months on the job steering the agency away from climate change to focus, in part, on cleaning up contaminated sites around the country.

The former Oklahoma attorney general has directed a task force to create a top-10 list of locations that need aggressive attention — welcome news at Superfund sites like Tar Creek in the northeastern corner of the state.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Developers recently announced plans to build the country’s largest wind farm in Oklahoma’s Panhandle. The industry is growing and turbine projects are expanding across the state. But wind energy developers are facing a new headwind: military air bases.

The C-17 is the pack mule of the United States military. It’s designed to lift and transport troops, tanks and even helicopters. It’s an enormous aircraft that casts an ominous, looming shadow as it taxis to takeoff.

Science Advances

A new research paper suggests Oklahoma’s earthquake hazard might not taper off as quickly or as significantly as scientists previously predicted.

The energy industry practice of pumping toxic waste-fluid byproducts of oil and gas production into underground disposal wells is thought to be fueling Oklahoma’s earthquake surge. This activity peaked in 2015 and slowed due to regulations and low oil prices.

Bill Davis / Flickr

A temporary mass migration that could reach into the millions is expected as people across the United States relocate to catch a prime view of the country’s first coast-to-coast total eclipse in nearly a century.

The vast majority of the country, including Oklahoma, isn’t in the path of “totality.”

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A key part in solving the state’s earthquake crisis is the long-term management of an enormous amount of oil-field wastewater likely triggering the shaking. The energy industry is working to solve this billion-barrel-a-year problem, and one promising alternative to risky disposal wells is reusing wastewater instead of pumping it underground.

The oil and gas industry has a love-hate relationship with water.

An earthquake of preliminary magnitude 4.2 hit central Oklahoma on Wednesday night, the U.S. Geological Survey said, the sixth earthquake to affect the area in just over 24 hours.

Four hours later, a less intense earthquake of a preliminary magnitude 3.5 struck the area in the early hours of Thursday.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The U.S. Environmental Protection agency is moving to add an Oklahoma facility that inspected and repaired aircraft oxygen and fire extinguisher systems to the nation’s list of most polluted hazardous waste sites.

Eagle Industries operated from 1990 to 2010 in Midwest City. The site is now inactive, officials say. A for-lease sign is planted in front of the office building, which appears to be vacant.

INVENERGY

The largest wind farm in the U.S. is under construction in Oklahoma’s panhandle, an 800-turbine project expected to deliver electricity to more than 1.1 million customers in four states.

Chicago power developer Invenergy and General Electric teamed up on the 2-gigawatt Wind Catcher Energy Connection facility, which should be online by 2020.

American Conservative Union / C-SPAN

Records show U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt traveled to his home state of Oklahoma 10 times during his first three full months on the job.

Travel documents obtained by the Environmental Integrity Project show Pruitt spent nearly half his days from March through May in Oklahoma or traveling to and from the state, where he previously served as attorney general.

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