In The Know: Earthquake restrictions announced for some Oklahoma injection wells

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

Today In The News

Earthquake restrictions announced for some Oklahoma injection wells: The Oklahoma Corporation Commission has ruled the oil and gas wastewater injection wells in 21 Oklahoma counties fall under a seismicity watch. The well operators have until August 14 to prove they are not injecting below the Arbuckle geological formation, which scientists say is increasing earthquake risk [OK Energy Today]. St. Gregory’s University, a Catholic university and monastery in Shawnee, is still dealing with hundreds of thousands in costs from a damaging earthquake in 2011 [StateImpact Oklahoma].

Judge tosses out Oklahoma Attorney General’s lawsuit against EPA Clean Power Plan: More than two weeks after filing another lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over its Clean Power Plan, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s suit has been tossed by a Tulsa U.S. District court judge. In the ruling issued Friday by Judge Claire Eagan, she said the lawsuit was premature and lacked jurisdiction. She said his claim that the EPA’s plan to cut power plant carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 would harm Oklahoma’s electricity system was “exaggerated” [OK Energy Today].

Funding drops again for Oklahoma schools: Even though the Oklahoma legislature was able to keep the budget for the State Department of Education from seeing a decrease for this fiscal year, initial allocations for some area school districts are not faring as well. SDE had to hold out more money for charter schools and virtual schools, as well as about $3.5 million for changes to the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship that provides vouchers for students with disabilities to attend private schools [Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise]. Since 2008 Oklahoma has made the largest cuts to per-pupil education funding in the nation [OK Policy].

Did holes in the social services net lead to death of 5-year-old?: No one has a full picture yet of what led Bryon Creech into a 17-hour police standoff, ending with the shooting death of his 5-year-old son, Braydon. Social service agencies, along with law enforcement officers, are left trying to answer this: Was there a way Braydon Creech’s death could have been prevented, and can other children in similar circumstances be better protected? [Tulsa World]

‘Full House’ interim studies look at hot-button issues: House Speaker Jeff Hickman approved 94 interim studies for the legislative interim. All you have to do is look at the breadth of interim study proposals to realize the reach of public issues that are dealt with by the legislature. Interestingly, this year Speaker Hickman reserved four of the studies to be considered by the “full House” instead of assigning them to a standing committee [OK Policy Blog].

Joining Obama on Cell Block B: Peter Baker, a White House correspondent, describes his first trip accompanying a United States President to a federal penitentiary – As we made our way through the heavy metal door of Cell Block B, someone called out. “Don’t let that door shut,” the voice said. No one had a key. Good advice. One place where you do not want to be on the wrong side of a locked door would be the El Reno federal prison [New York Times]. With the state’s prison population expected to grow by another 1,200 inmates over the next year, bipartisan momentum appears to be building in Oklahoma to resume work on criminal justice reforms that have stalled from a lack of funding and a shortage of political will to implement them [Enid News & Eagle].

Food stamp recipients are almost all children and working adults: Op-ed by University of Tulsa associate professor of economics Scott Carter – The recent flap over a derogatory comment concerning food stamps recipients posted on the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page provides an opportunity to consider the way the food stamp program functions, whom it actually serves, and what positive impact it has on Oklahoma’s gross state product [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma to celebrate 25th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act: Gov. Mary Fallin issued a proclamation declaring July 26 as Americans with Disabilities Act Day. Oklahoma will join the rest of the nation in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Act with activities to highlight the civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life [Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise].

Court increases bond payout by Chesapeake Energy: A federal judge on Thursday said Chesapeake Energy Corp must pay an additional $59.1 million to some investors whose bonds it redeemed early, boosting the natural gas company’s total payout to $438.7 million. Chesapeake intended to redeem the bonds early to reduce a debt burden accumulated under former Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon and to offset falling natural gas prices [Reuters].

Quote of the Day

The inference here of course is that SNAP is somehow at odds with the principle of free markets. In fact, significant numbers of the working poor are eligible to receive SNAP assistance due precisely to the “normal functioning” of the “free labor market” where often full-time employment does not pay enough to feed a family.

-University of Tulsa economics professor Scott Carter, discussing recent derogatory comments concerning food stamps recipients posted on the Oklahoma Republican Party’s Facebook page (Source)

Number of the Day


The number of Oklahoma workers employed at “food services and drinking places”, the largest employment sector in the state, in the 3rd quarter of 2014. Workers in this sector also made the lowest average monthly earnings in the state at $1,171.

Source: U.S. Census Quarterly Workforce Indicators

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

Immigration has helped reduce crime and revitalize city economies: Although certainly not the only factor, immigration deserves attention as part of the answer for the nation’s crime decline and urban revitalization. Immigrants have gravitated to many of the urban areas that were most distressed 40 years ago and have contributed to their economic revival. Contrary to widespread beliefs, high concentrations of immigrants are also associated with lower crime rates [American Prospect].

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

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