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.

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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.

C-SPAN

The Oklahoma Bar Association is investigating whether EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lied to Congress during his confirmation hearings. The probe was launched after an ethics complaint in Pruitt's home state.

An Oklahoma law professor and an environmental group filed the ethics complaint. They are accusing Pruitt of misleading Senators about his use of a private email address when he served as Oklahoma's Attorney General.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

One major tax incentive for wind energy remains on the books in Oklahoma. And the Legislature is poised to end it — more than three years early. The politics of renewable energy have changed as state revenues have failed, but some wind producers say lawmakers are backing out on a deal, and that sends a bad message to any industry considering investing in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma’s wind industry has grown year after year. With 3,400 turbines spread across 41 wind farm projects, the state ranks No. 3 in the nation in the American Wind Energy Association’s report on wind power capacity.

Years of cuts in funding appropriated by the Legislatures means Oklahoma is unable to replace retiring or exiting wild land fire experts and increasingly relies on other states to fight its largest, most dangerous wildfires.

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