Joe Wertz

StateImpact Oklahoma

Joe has previously served as Managing Editor of Urban Tulsa Weekly, as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at Oklahoma Gazette and worked as a Staff Writer for The Oklahoman. Joe was a weekly correspondent for KGOU from 2007-2010. He grew up in Bartlesville, Okla., lives in Oklahoma City, and studied journalism at the University of Central Oklahoma.

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Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Three environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit this week that accuses the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of unlawfully approving Oklahoma’s plan to manage waste from coal-fired power plants.

Oklahoma in June became the first state in the nation to get EPA approval to oversee the disposal of coal ash, a byproduct of power plants that contains toxic compounds like lead, mercury and arsenic.

Google Earth

Oklahoma ranks No. 2 in the nation for installed wind power capacity, according to a report from the American Wind Energy Association.

This electricity — enough, the association estimates, to power the equivalent of 2.3 million homes — is generated by 3,736 wind turbines operating in Oklahoma, a public dataset compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, AWEA and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory show.

A political outsider will be the Republican party's nominee for governor.

Kevin Stitt, a Tulsa businessman, defeated former Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett in Tuesday's Republican primary runoff. Stitt defeated Cornett 55 to 45 percent. 

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association on Tuesday sued Kingfisher County Commissioners, the latest salvo in a long-simmering fight over water use in one of the state’s most prolific oil fields.

U.S. Chemical Safety Board

An accident that killed five workers at an Oklahoma drilling site earlier this year may have started after natural gas escaped from the well and safety equipment failed to prevent an explosion and fire that burned for hours, federal investigators said Thursday.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Federal authorities cited and fined three oil and gas companies for exposing workers to dangerous hazards after a deadly explosion and fire on a drilling rig in January.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Crescent Consulting of Oklahoma City and Patterson-UTI of Houston for not maintaining proper controls while drilling a well.

Oil and gas companies spent more than half a million dollars to defeat State Question 788, a statewide ballot initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

Companies from Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas collectively contributed $590,100 to “SQ 788 is Not Medical,” a political action committee established to defeat the measure, state ethics records show.

AEP

American Electric Power on Friday canceled construction of the largest U.S. wind farm in the Oklahoma Panhandle after utility regulators in Texas rejected the project.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Benji White pulls into a field and honks his horn. Before the shifter hits park and the doors close behind him and his wife Lori, the silver Ford pickup is surrounded by dozens of Red Angus eager for a handout of cattle cake, a protein-dense pellet.

“You definitely don’t want to get in the habit of feeding bulls cake out of your hand because that kind of can create some aggression when you don’t feed them,” Lori said.

Jackie Fortier / StateImpact Oklahoma

The former lawyer for the Oklahoma State Department of Health faces felony charges accusing her of sending herself threatening emails related to Oklahoma’s recently adopted medical marijuana rules.

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