KGOU

StateImpact

Stillwater's Boomer Dam is one of more than 4,700 in Oklahoma.
Claire Donnelly / KGOU

Oklahoma has more than 4,700 dams. At least 30 percent of these flood control structures are at the end of their 50-year design life. With climate change expected to bring more heavy precipitation, can they hold up?

Anti-Abortion Strategy Splits Oklahoma Lawmakers

Apr 18, 2019
Anti-abortion advocates listen to speakers decry a proposed abortion trigger bill at the Oklahoma State Capitol Feb. 25, 2019. Instead, they rallied to outlaw abortion immediately, rather than waiting on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

Energized by new conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion opponents believe that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. could be overturned. If that happens, the regulation of abortion returns to the states. Some state legislatures led by liberal Democrats, such as New York, have decided to protect the right to an abortion.

Tracy Smallwood is grateful for the life she’s worked to build after leaving prison.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Tracy Smallwood says her life before she went to prison was just “dead time.”

This is the Manager’s Minute.

This time of year we give thanks for our families, friends and people who have helped us along the way.

And so it is at KGOU.

Oklahoma City Public School's Superintendent Aurora Lora and Board of Education member, Mark Mann, announce plans to sue the legislature over education funding.
Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education is considering legal action against the legislature for underfunding education.

Board member Mark Mann said the Oklahoma Legislature puts mandates on schools without giving them enough money to fulfill the obligations, which he says creates unfunded liabilities for Oklahoma City Public Schools and other districts across the state.

Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department

Lake Waurika was built in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 to serve, primarily, as a source of drinking water for Lawton and surrounding communities. It has also become an important tourist attraction for the area.

Sierra Club of Oklahoma

The Sierra Club on Thursday said two Oklahoma Gas & Electric coal-fired power plants are releasing too much sulfur dioxide, a compound that can cause respiratory disease, which they said endangers residents near Muskogee and Red Rock.

The environmental group commissioned a study that modeled the amount of sulfur dioxide released by the Sooner and Muskogee plants, and says both will violate federal clean air standards — when those standards are implemented.

FALLSROAD / Flickr Creative Commons

In the 1960s, survey teams of architects and engineers started hunting across Oklahoma for places to hunker down.

They found basements and tunnels, underground parking garages and well-built structures in municipal and private buildings.

At the time, Oklahoma’s big worry was an attack from Soviet Russia. That threat never materialized, but the state is targeted by tornadoes every year. And public shelter spaces are disappearing from the map.

President Obama speaking in Cushing, Oklahoma in March 2012.
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

It’s hard to know where President Barack Obama stands on the Keystone XL pipeline project, which still awaits his approval.

Obama has rejected Transcanada’s permit for the Canada-to-Texas pipeline in the past, but championed parts of the project during a 2012 trip to the pipeline’s hub in Cushing, Oklahoma.

Supreme Court Sides With Ethanol Over Oil

Jun 25, 2013
SPENCER T. / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s a big week for the U.S. Supreme Court, with decisions coming on gay marriage, affirmative action, and voting rights. But renewable energy advocates have already notched a victory today.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency approved the use of fuel containing up to 15% ethanol in 2010, and today, the court decided not to hear a challenge to that decision.

boy walking through rubble
Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Seven children were killed at an elementary school in Moore when a massive tornado tore through the area last month.

And the disaster has led to questions about why Oklahoma used previous federal disaster money to build more than 10,000 storm shelters in homes, but only 85 in public schools.

Getting the answer means going back to another major storm, on May 3rd, 1999, and another state.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Restaurants in Broken Arrow were ordered to close Wednesday because of a leak in a pipeline that brings water to the city from Pryor, about 30 miles away.

The news can’t come as a complete surprise to Broken Arrow officials, like Engineering Director Kenny Schwab.

Logan Layden / StateImpact Oklahoma

Every four years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases an analysis of how much federal money states will need to complete water projects to provide clean drinking water over the next 20 years.

The most recent update of the EPA’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment was just released, and the national need is staggering:

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Following a major disaster like the Moore tornado on May 20th, news reporters want answers, and they don’t want to wait.

How many people were killed? How many injured? How much damage did the storm cause, and how much will it cost? Answers to the first three questions may not come immediately, but within a few days, they usually can be addressed fairly accurately.

Oklahoma has more natural gas reserves than all but three other states. And it now accounts for about 40 percent of the state's power generation.

Coal mining plays a key role in the history of eastern Oklahoma. Without immigrant miners flooding into the area in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some towns might not even exist.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Tarrant v. Herrmann, an Oklahoma-Texas water fight with national implications. The justices grappled with the 30-year-old Red River Compact, and whether a region of Texas can reach across state lines to access water in southeastern Oklahoma.

House Speaker T.W. Shannon (R-Lawton) says the moratorium is necessary because Oklahoma has raised fees by more than $100 million since 2007. During the recession, it was the easiest way Oklahoma had to raise revenues to fill budget gaps. Increasing taxes in Oklahoma requires a three-fourths supermajority in both houses of the legislature, or a vote of the people.

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in an Oklahoma-Texas water case that could have ripple effects on interstate water-sharing agreements throughout the country.

State Question 766 passed in November 2012, and eliminated the tax on intangible property: business licenses, trade secrets, company logos, things with value beyond their physical traits. Five months later, a new estimate predicts the impact could be double that, and administrators are wondering what it means for their districts.

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