StateImpact Oklahoma

Dealing with Water Shortage
9:32 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Drought Stricken Southwest Oklahoma Towns Look For More Water Underground

After four years of drought, municipal water storage in in Altus-Lugert lake has dropped to about 10 percent.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Water supplies in southwest Oklahoma are in danger of drying up as four years of drought drag lake levels to record lows. Some communities are scrambling to supplement their current water sources, while others look for new sources — in Texas.

Estimates say Duncan’s main water source — Lake Waurika — could be too low to use by 2016.


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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:00 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Along the Watershed: The History and Future of Oklahoma's Scenic Rivers

There are more than 78,000 miles of rivers and streams in Oklahoma. But 200 of those miles are unique — Oklahoma’s scenic rivers. They are some of the state’s most environmentally sensitive waterways, and the state grants them special protections.

StateImpact reporters Logan Layden and Joe Wertz spent a month exploring the rivers for a documentary about the rivers' history and the environmental threats they face.

StateImpact Oklahoma
5:56 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Oil, Drought and Earthquakes Discussed at Governor’s Energy Conference

Col. Michael Teague, Secretary of Energy and Environment, and Governor Mary Fallin speak at the Governor's Energy Conference on Thursday afternoon.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Politicians, agency leaders and energy industry executives gathered in Oklahoma City Thursday for the Governor’s Energy Conference. The annual event is largely promotional, but as Joe Wertz from StateImpact reports, it also serves as a preview of the biggest energy policy topics for the coming year.

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Scenic Rivers Series
10:13 am
Thu September 4, 2014

On the Mountain Fork River, Environmental Protection Equals Economic Development

Eddie Brister, owner of the Beaver's Bend Fly Shop on the southern section of the Mountain Fork River.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

This is the final part of StateImpact Oklahoma’s series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. Part three is available here.

Eddie Brister knows how the stream warms and cools, and where the current rushes and pools. He knows every pebble in the river, and he can spot a trout without even dipping his waders in the water.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:48 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Boom and Gloom: Tourism and Industry Collide Along Oklahoma’s Scenic Rivers

Debbie Doss picks up garbage and loose clothing left behind by careless tourists along Lee Creek.
Logan Layden / State Impact Oklahoma

This is part three of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. Part two is available here.

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Series: Oklahoma's Scenic Rivers
11:34 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Other States Have Outsized Influence in Oklahoma’s Scenic River Protection Policy

Bob Deitrick of Owasso stands along the banks of the Upper Illinois River at the Round Hollow public access point north of Tahlequah, Okla. The headwaters of this river are in Arkansas.
Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

This is part two of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the environmental threats they face. Part one is available here.

Bob Deitrick checks the snaps on his bright orange life vest, crouches and checks all the gear one last time. The Owasso father’s son and his two friends are behind him, impatiently paddling in circles.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
9:46 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Flaming Waterways and Death Threats: The History of Oklahoma’s Scenic Rivers

A group of Tulsa bartenders prepare for a day on the Illinois River at Diamondhead Resort near Tahlequah, Okla.
Logan Layden StateImpact Oklahoma

This is part one of StateImpact Oklahoma’s four-part series on the history of Oklahoma’s scenic rivers and the threats they face. 

The six eastern Oklahoma waterways classified as scenic rivers are each examples of the pristine beauty of that part of the state. They’re also tourist magnets. Even on a Monday morning, rowdy Tulsans pile into a bus at Diamondhead Resort and rumble toward the nearest access point into the Illinois River.

“If you have a good group of people and enough alcohol you can make anything fun,” one floater tells StateImpact.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
8:45 am
Thu August 7, 2014

State Parks Director Says State Parks “Not On The List” Of Core Services

Shaun Pelkey and his daughter Ireland Pelkey enjoy the afternoon at one of Walnut Creek State Park's beaches on Keystone Lake.
Logan Layden StateImpact Oklahoma

State tourism officials are considering closing or transferring four more state parks. The agency, like many, has had its budget cut over the past four years, but the decision to defund state parks is about more than money.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
12:22 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

In Lawsuit Over Oil and Gas Tax Law, Two Ways to ‘Test’ a Revenue Bill in Oklahoma

Oklahoma City attorney and legislative watchdog Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged laws in the past, leaves a courtroom at the State Supreme Court, where a referee heard his lawsuit over House Bill 2562.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The State Supreme Court on July 29 heard a lawsuit and constitutional challenge to House Bill 2562, a measure that would change the effective state tax rate levied on oil and gas production.

Both parties agreed that the measure was written to reduce taxes, but is HB 2562 a “revenue bill?” That definition is important because this court battle isn’t about policy, it’s about procedure.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
7:47 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Why Oklahoma’s Wind Energy Future Could Be Shaped by Osage County

Joe Wertz StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma is moving up the national ranks in wind-generated electricity. But as wind farms expand into northeastern Oklahoma, developers are facing a team of unlikely allies: Oil interests and environmentalists. But as StateImpact’s Joe Wertz reports, the wind farm fight in Osage County could affect the whole state.

The males are rowdy, the females are frisky. It’s bison breeding season in Oklahoma. This is the time when horns lock and fur flies.

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