Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 6:57 am
Oklahoma is the nation's fourth-largest generator of wind energy. But wind developers in the northeast corner of the state, where the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve lies, are up against stiff opposition from an unlikely pair of allies: environmentalists and oil interests.
Bob Hamilton, director of the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, has been fighting to block construction of a 68-turbine wind farm.
Oklahoma has been rattled by a surge of earthquakes, which many scientists say is likely linked to oil and gas drilling. On Thursday night, residents packed a contentious town hall meeting to demand answers from public officials. Joe Wertz from StateImpact Oklahoma reports.
There was booing and shouts for regulators to impose a moratorium on the oil and gas disposal wells. Local resident Ester D. Blaine said she had to take all the pictures off her walls. She says citizens and scientists don’t stand a chance against Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry.
From the start of the legislative session on February 3rd, StateImpact Oklahoma had its eye on what was sure to be a heated issue: the coming expiration of a tax credit for horizontally drilled oil and gas wells. Without action, rates would go from one-percent for the first four years of a well’s life, back to 7 percent.
This week, President Obama ended a ban on oil and gas drilling along some parts of the U.S. Atlantic coast and northern Alaska. The president's decision has staggered some of his own environmental supporters, but others say the decision is necessary to help decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil or win bipartisan support for an energy and climate change bill.