Oklahoma

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President-elect Joe Biden is expected to choose Tom Vilsack as the new U.S. secretary of agriculture.

Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, previously served in the position for eight years during the Obama administration. He’s the longest-serving person in the position since Orville Freeman left in 1969.

Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, likes Vilsack’s years of experience.

Chelsea Stanfield / KOSU

Thousands of Oklahomans were left without power for nearly two weeks following a late October ice storm. While most OG&E customers have since had their power restored, some are still in the dark.

Seth Bodine / KOSU

There are still more than 300,000 power outages following a severe ice storm that passed through Oklahoma this week. Between restoring power and debris cleanup, recovery could take a long time.

Chelsea Stanfield / KOSU

Tree clean-up is on the minds of many Oklahomans following an early-season ice storm that affected a large portion of the state.

Keith Reed, the horticulture educator for Oklahoma State University Payne County Extension Office, said when this storm was being talked about last week, the first thought was that all the leaves were still on the trees.

“Timing really hurt us one this one,” Reed said. “The trees didn’t have a chance.”

KRISTOFOR HUSTED / HARVEST PUBLIC MEDIA FILE PHOTO

Algal blooms in bodies of water often caused by runoff of manure and fertilizer on crop lands have a high price tag. 

An economic analysis by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group found that 22 states have spent more than $1 billion altogether since 2010. Kansas, Iowa and Texas are among the states that have spent millions clearing the algae. Of the Midwestern states in the study, Iowa has spent the most — more than $40 million across six sites since 2010. 

Chelsea Stanfield

A growing demand for more locally-sourced food options has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on large meat processing hubs throughout the country. Oklahoma ranchers want to increase the state’s cattle processing and packing capacity to provide more local beef options for Oklahoma consumers. 

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

Tornadoes swept through parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana early Wednesday evening, leaving at least six people dead and injuring more than two dozen others in their paths of destruction. The tornadoes were among a series of severe storms that bulldozed a route west to east across the South on Wednesday.

The Cherokee Nation has named its first delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives. Former Obama appointee Kimberly Teehee's nomination was approved by the tribe's council on Thursday. Although the treaty that created this nonvoting position is almost 200 years old, it had never been filled.

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Scott Pruitt, the current head of the Environmental Protection Agency, first came to national prominence back when he was Oklahoma's attorney general. In that role, he sued the agency he now runs 14 times, in a series of court cases alleging overreach by the federal government.

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