The move displaces the federal government as the body responsible for coal ash disposal in EPA head Scott Pruitt's home state. Coal ash is the residue left over from burning coal for power that often contaminates groundwater. It is a change that industry has lobbied for and environmental groups have opposed.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department and hazmat crews responded to the situation after receiving reports of a "yellow liquid" shooting into the air near an oil and gas well site in Edmond, a suburb outside of Oklahoma City.
In fact, a dozen-plus earthquakes, ranging from magnitudes of 2.5 to 4.6, have been recorded in the Sooner State since Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Two 4.2-magnitude earthquakes struck near Enid in northern Oklahoma Sunday at 5:17 p.m and 9:40 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). They are the largest recorded this year so far and even felt in neighboring Kansas.
The large quakes were followed by two smaller ones around the same area early Monday. The first was a magnitude 2.7 followed by 12:35 a.m. then magnitude 2.6 at 6:16 a.m.
Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO), a subsidiary of major utility American Electric Power, announced this week a settlement with various parties, including Walmart, allowing the $4.5 billion project to move forward.
The alarming string of earthquakes that have shaken Oklahoma for years has long been tied to the large volume of fracking wastewater dumped into the state's injection wells. And while state regulators have taken numerous measures to reduce wastewater disposal volumes to prevent such "induced" earthquakes, they might want to consider another measure—restricting how deep wastewater gets sent underground.
A new study, published Thursday in the journal Science, finds that Oklahoma's earthquakes can also be triggered by wastewater injection depth.
The drilling company involved in Monday's natural gas rig explosion in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma that killed five workers has a long record of deadly accidents and numerous safety violations.
Ten workers have died within the past ten years at well sites linked to Houston-based Patterson-UTI Energy, the Associated Press reported, citing data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
"The past 24 hours have had an uptick in earthquake numbers, with 8 quakes ranging from 2.6-4.2 magnitude occurring in Oklahoma," USGS tweeted.
American Electric Power (AEP) will invest $4.5 billion in a wind energy project in Oklahoma that could become the largest wind farm in the U.S., the utility announced Wednesday.
AEP will develop a 350-mile transmission line for the 2 GW farm.