In The Know: More than 635 OK disposal wells directed to reduce depths, volumes

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today In The News

More than 635 Oklahoma disposal wells directed to reduce depths, volumes: As the top oil producer in the water-heavy Mississippi Lime formation in northern Oklahoma, it’s probably no surprise that SandRidge Energy Inc. leads the list of companies for saltwater disposal well volumes into the Arbuckle. Oklahoma oil and natural gas producers have long targeted the deep Arbuckle layer as a favored location for getting rid of the briny “fossil water” that comes up with oil and gas. But as the state deals with a huge increase in earthquakes, regulators are focusing on the links scientists have made between the amount of wastewater disposal into the Arbuckle and man-made earthquakes [The Oklahoman].

After Two 4.7 Quakes, Many Oklahomans Don’t Know if Their Insurance Covers Them: After a 4.7 magnitude earthquake hit northern Oklahoma early this morning — the second in less than two weeks — many Oklahomans with earthquake insurance are still waiting to see if they’re covered. Insurers have a few days left to let consumers know whether their policies include earthquakes caused by oil and gas operations. Insurance Commissioner John Doak asked insurers in October to clarify because most of Oklahoma’s earthquakes are tied to wastewater injection [KWGS].

Would budget-only sessions create more problems than they solve? No one who observes or participates in developing Oklahoma’s budget is happy with how things work. Each year, the Legislature approves billions in appropriations to over 65 state agencies with minimal input or oversight. One major budget reform idea that is gaining growing support is for a constitutional amendment to provide for biannual budget-only sessions [OK Policy].

‘Texting and driving’ law in Oklahoma rolls out slowly during its first month: Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers wrote nearly 100 tickets for driving while texting during the first month the law was in effect, but other law enforcement agencies have not penned a single citation. Statute 47-11-901d, the “texting and driving” law, became state law Nov. 1. It states that it is illegal to “send, receive or compile a text while driving down the road,” patrol Lt. John Vincent said. Fines for citations related to texting and driving are capped at $100, according to the statute [NewsOK].

Cutting back: Bill would reimplement $100 limit on lobbyist spending: The newest rule letting lobbyists buy meals for lawmakers irked state Sen. Josh Brecheen. So he filed a bill to reverse the policy. The rule implemented this year allows lobbyists to pay for meals and give gifts to lawmakers, staffers and other state officials as long as they don’t go over a $500 cap. Brecheen’s bill would reimplement an earlier $100 cap and also change limits on companies that hire lobbyists – not just the lobbyists themselves [Journal Record].

Attorney renews challenge to Oklahoma Unclaimed Property Act: An Oklahoma City attorney who frequently challenges actions by the Legislature is renewing his legal challenges to the state’s Unclaimed Property Act and bills that funded state government for the last three years. Attorney Jerry Fent filed appeals Monday in both cases that were earlier dismissed by Oklahoma County District Judge Thomas Prince. Fent wants both cases to be taken up by the Oklahoma Supreme Court [News9].

Oklahoma, Arkansas have growing Marshallese populations: Push pins on a map tell the story of how far Marshall Islanders have been willing to go to build a better life in the United States. They stretch from coast to coast, with a large concentration in a part of the country that’s the opposite of a tropical paradise. Carmen Chung Gum, the Marshall Islands’ consul general in Springdale, Arkansas, estimates there are about 20,000 Marshallese in the U.S. [Journal Record].

Lack Of Accountability Leaves Some Oklahoma Home-Schoolers Behind: Cosmetology student Tori Straughn walks out of the student salon at Moore Norman Technology Center and takes off her apron as she plops down on a couch in the lobby outside the classroom. This is Straughn’s first foray into a traditional classroom setting. Her parents home-schooled her, and she’s now finding some gaps in her education [KWGS]. 

Grass really is ‘greener’ on other side of street in community experiment: Six years ago, Richard McKown decided to build an affordable housing community of half conventional homes and half homes with green infrastructure to see which performed better. It would have been a radical idea in any place, but it was practically unheard of where McKown worked: Norman, OK, a place with clay soils, extreme weather and so little in the way of green infrastructure that the city officials weren’t even using that term [Bay Journal].

Quote of the Day

“There is a very big difference in runoff. If we can make it work in entry-level homes in Oklahoma, then I think we can make it work in other places.”

– Shanon Phillips, water quality division director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, on the success of the Trailwoods green infrastructure project. Trailwoods showed significant improvements in storm runoff water quality compared to conventional stormwater management. (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of Oklahoma’s foreign-born population who were naturalized citizens in 2014

Source: Census Bureau.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Serving Time in Overcrowded Prisons Makes Ex-Cons More Likely to Reoffend: Criticism of mass incarceration falls roughly into two strains of thought. The first says that imprisoning more than 1.5 million people, and jailing 800,000 others, is a moral disaster. The second says it is a practical disaster, costing taxpayers dearly while destabilizing communities and doing little to lower the crime rate. The problem of prison overcrowding is usually raised in service of making the first point. Overcrowding, the argument goes, contributes to America’s so-called correctional facilities being hellholes of human suffering. That argument might not be persuasive to people who have a hard time feeling sorry for convicted criminals. But the results of a new study suggest it’s not the only argument against overcrowding [Slate].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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