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Business and Economy

Top Business Stories: OG&E Coal Cleanup, Food Trucks, And A Leaner Chesapeake Energy Corp.

The Oklahoma Gas and Electric power plant in Muskogee.
Rip Stell / Journal Record
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OG&E Says Cleaning Up Emissions At Its Coal-Fired Power Plants Could Cost $1 Billion.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sued the company in 2009, claiming pollution from OG&E creates smog in national parks.  The courts agreed and gave OG&E until 2019 to clean it up.

Last week, the company presented five ideas to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. They include everything from replacing four coal-burning units to adding pollution scrubbers.

This week, OG&E will submit its final plan. It’s believed the company will go with the cheapest option – it will add scrubbers to two units, and add natural gas capabilities to two others.

The plan doesn’t include adding more wind power. Leon Howell, the company’s director of resource planning, said there’s not enough transmission capacity to do that yet.

After the Corporation Commission sees the final plan, it will have to decide if OG&E can increase its customers’ bills to pay for the work.

H&8th Night Market attendees congregate outside Ludivine at 805 N. Hudson Ave.
Credit Nathan Poppe
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H&8th Night Market attendees congregate outside Ludivine at 805 N. Hudson Ave.

Organizers Say Oklahoma City’s Monthly H&8th Night Market Is The Largest Food Truck Festival In The Country.

The event is also a sign of new prosperity in the Midtown district.

As the festival around Hudson and 8th avenues has grown from 2,000 to 20,000 people, property values are on the rise.

The value of the building that hosts Elemental Coffee has perked up from $90,000 to $150,000 in six years.

The home of Ludivine restaurant has gone from $323,000 to $546,000.

A few blocks east of H&8th, the value of Shop Good, Sara Sara and the Iguana Grill went up as well, but not as spectacularly.

Shane Hampton of the Institute for Quality Communities said bringing in mobile kitchens probably isn’t a major factor in rising real estate prices. But he said the marketing certainly helps bring in businesses and raise rents.

stc-CHK-RKI-transaction.jpg
Credit Chesapeake Energy
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Chesapeake Energy CEO Doug Lawler Makes Moves Towards His Plan For A Leaner, More Focused Company.

In Wyoming, the company traded some land with RKI Exploration. Chesapeake got leases on more than 200,000 acres, and RKI got 137,000 acres plus $450 million in cash.

Both companies said the land swap will help them focus their operations and get more money from each well.

To help pay for the move, Chesapeake is buying back 1 million shares of stock in its CHK Utica subsidiary. That will cost $1.26 billion, but it save the company $75 million each year in dividend payments.

An industry analyst said the moves are a good sign for the company’s future.

We’ll learn more when Chesapeake and Oklahoma’s other prominent energy companies release their second quarter results this week.

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The Business Intelligence Report is a collaborative news project between KGOU and the Journal Record.

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