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AM NewsBrief: Aug. 17, 2023

This is the KGOU AM NewsBrief for Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.

Bethany Receives Emergency Water Grant

Bethany has received a $100,000 grant from the state to repair their drinking water lines and improve their stormwater system.

Communities across Oklahoma benefited from lots of rain last month.

But as water levels rose in ditches and storm drains on July 9th, the levels in one of Bethany’s water towers started to drop.

Stormwater had washed out a metal brace holding up a water line, causing the unsupported line to collapse. It spilled treated drinking water into a canal and drained the tower’s supply.

The city expects repairing the water line and improving the stormwater system will cost nearly $300,000.

But they just received an emergency grant from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board to cover a third of that cost. The city will pay for the rest, but the grant should save ratepayers about $175,000 they would have ultimately owed on a loan with interest.

Federal Hate Crime Sentencing

The second of two Oklahoma men who pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime last year has been sentenced.

Brandon Killian has been sentenced to serve six years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and to pay $43,000 in restitution for the 2019 racially motivated assault of Jarric Carolina in the parking lot of the Brickhouse Saloon in Shawnee.

The co-defendant, Devan Johnson, was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison and pay $68,000 in restitution last month.

Killian and Johnson, who are both white, physically assaulted and shouted racial slurs at Carolina, who is Black. Carolina fell unconscious and needed to be hospitalized.

This is the first hate crime to be prosecuted in Oklahoma City federal court since the 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the existing federal hate crime law.

OK AG Calls On Congress To Pass EATS Act

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond is calling on the U.S. Congress to pass the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression Act.

The EATs Act is a bill designed to prevent states and local governments from regulating the production and distribution of food products within their borders that are subject to interstate commerce.

Drummond and 15 other state attorneys general signed a letter to Congress advocating federal legislators to pass the bill.

The letter is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court upholding Proposition 12 in May.

Prop 12 is a California law that requires breeding pigs to be raised within a certain amount of space for their pork to be in the state.

The letter, written by the Attorney General of Iowa Brenna Bird, argues Prop 12 imposes unfair restrictions on farmers producing food outside of California in order to sell products there and is costly for them to implement.

The implementation of Prop. 12 was delayed in June until the end of the year to allow pork producers time to adjust to the new regulations.

Prague Earthquake Settlement

There’s another settlement in the $5.9 million dollar class action lawsuit related to a strong 2011 earthquake near Prague, Oklahoma, and others linked to wastewater disposal and the oil and gas industry.

The U.S. Geological Survey in 2014 found the Prague-area quakes were -quote- human-induced. The lawsuit has been going on for years, and blames some energy companies for earthquakes felt in Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma, Ohio and Arkansas in 2011.

In Prague, the quake reached 5.7 magnitude, leaving heavy damage. It was the first event in Oklahoma scientists linked to the energy industry’s practice of pumping oil-field wastewater into underground disposal wells. New Dominion LLC, disputed allegations of triggering the earthquakes, but is the latest company to settle in the case.

OK Energy Today reports a law firm for the plaintiffs is attempting to notify Oklahomans who were impacted by the earthquakes. Some residents could be eligible to receive part of the settlement.

A final approval hearing will be held in late September.

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