In The Know: McClendon’s new firm secures $1.7B to buy shale acreage in Ohio

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 you should know that Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, has secured $1.7 billion to buy acreage in Ohio’s Utica Shale through his new firm American Energy Partners.  Chesapeake Energy laid off 800 workers, mostly from its Oklahoma City location.  

A natural gas pipeline in northwest Oklahoma exploded yesterday, shooting flames that were visible from up to 50 miles away.  OKDHS has enough funds to operate normally until the end of the month, but is growing concerned about the effect of the government shutdown on vulnerable Oklahomans.  

Oklahoma City Schools, the state’s largest public school district, is considering a policy that would require the construction of storm-safe rooms.  Rep. Jeannie McDaniel illuminated the inanity of keeping thousands of non-violent geriatric offenders incarcerated in Oklahoma prisons.  

Oklahoma Policy Institute and Circle Cinema will screen ‘Inequality for All’, a new documentary featuring economic analysis on the effects of income and asset disparities.  Lawmakers are hearing from experts on the lack of affordable housing in rural Oklahoma.  

The Number of the Day is the elderly poverty rate in Oklahoma if Social Security benefits were withdrawn.  In today’s Policy Note, a new brief from The Alliance for Retired Americans reveals the success of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in providing Oklahomans with basic retirement security.

In The News

McClendon’s new company lands $1.7B in financing
Aubrey McClendon’s American Energy Partners LP has secured about $1.7 billion to buy acreage in Ohio’s Utica Shale, the company announced Wednesday. Subsidiary American Energy – Utica LLC intends to acquire about 110,ooo acres of leasehold in the southern part of the play and develop additional acreage there. The company will start drilling operations with one rig before the end of the year. It plans to ramp up drilling to at least 12 rigs over the next couple of years. McClendon founded American Energy Partners shortly after he was forced out as CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., the company he had helped build into the country’s most active driller. The new company’s office is located about half a mile east of Chesapeake’s sprawling campus.

Read more from NewsOK

Chesapeake Bloodbath: 800 Layoffs As ‘Transformation Work Is Finished’
The hammer fell on Chesapeake Energy CHK -0.46% on Tuesday. Following dozens of previous layoffs in past weeks, today 800 workers at the company got the axe. In a letter to remaining employees, CEO Doug Lawler said that “the initial transformation work is finished.” The layoffs impacted at least 640 people at Chesapeake’s Oklahoma City headquarters.

Read more from Forbes

Pipeline explodes in western Oklahoma’s Harper County, homes evacuated
Authorities say no one was injured when a natural gas pipeline exploded in northwest Oklahoma, shooting flames into the sky that were visible from up to 50 miles away. The explosion happened at about 11 p.m. Tuesday in a rural area of Harper County near the Kansas border.

Read more from Associated Press

Concern over core services
DHS spokeswoman Sheree Powell said the department’s programs are functioning normally now but could be affected if the shutdown continues. “We believe we have enough funding on hand to make it through the end of October without the disruption of services,” she said. “But should this continue on past that point, we will be making contingency plans on how this is going to impact services. It would be very fair to say that we are all concerned.”

Read more from NewsOK

OKC schools weighs safe rooms on all campus
Oklahoma’s largest public school district is considering a policy that would require the construction of safe rooms to protect children from violent weather. The Oklahoma City School Board on Monday rejected bids for a new gym at Nichols Hills Elementary and asked that new proposals include costs for both a gym and a safe room. Interest in school safety grew after seven children died in Moore when their elementary school was hit by a tornado May 20.

Read more from Associated Press

Rep. Jeannie McDaniel: Time to deal with the state’s aging prison population
Decades of mandatory minimums, “three strikes” laws and the overall trend toward harsher and longer sentences have led to an overcrowded penal system in which almost a fifth of Oklahoma’s prison population is composed of geriatric prisoners. When sections of our prisons mirror a nursing home with bars, and when frail and incapacitated prisoners could safely be released back in to society to live out their twilight years, one should consider smarter and more humane options than just locking up our senior citizens and throwing away the key.

Read more from Tulsa World

Join us for ‘Inequality For All’ screening and discussion
The United States has by far the most unequal distribution of income out of all developed countries. The top 1 percent of earners holds more than 35 percent of the nation’s overall wealth, while the bottom 50 percent controls just 2.5 percent. As inequality has skyrocketed over the past four decades, middle-class incomes have deteriorated. In 1978 , the typical male worker earned $48,302; in 2010, that worker earned just $33,751.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute

Lawmakers cite housing shortage in rural Oklahoma
Business advocates say the lack of affordable housing in rural Oklahoma is stalling growth in the region. Officials from the Oklahoma Panhandle and other rural areas appeared at the state Capitol Tuesday to discuss the region’s housing needs. Vicky Ayres McCune of the Panhandle Regional Economic Development Coalition says more than 500 people who work in Guymon commute from Texas or Kansas because of a lack of housing in the area.

Read more from Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“Instead of asking why she keeps going back, one should instead ask, ‘Why is he hitting her?’”

Evelyn Hibbs, Director of Muskogee’s Women in Safe Home

Number of the Day

46.9 percent

The elderly poverty rate in Oklahoma if Social Security benefits were withdrawn; the current poverty rate for Oklahoma’s seniors (with Social Security) is 9.9 percent

Source: The Alliance for Retired Americans

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Work for Oklahoma

This report reveals the success of these institutions for Oklahoma and the nation. The numbers tell part of the story: how many people receive benefits in Oklahoma, in its congressional districts and its counties; how many dollars flow into these jurisdictions in a year; the types of benefits and the types of people who receive benefits. Perhaps more importantly, the report presents the stories of hard- working Oklahomans and their families whose lives are immeasurably better because of the protections they have earned.

Read more from The Alliance for Retired Americans

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