Here’s some shocking, earth-rattling news.
Yesterday, through interviews, open records requests and something called “research,” Energy Wire released a somewhat terrifying report that exposes how the Oklahoma political elite, energy industry and Oklahoma Geological Survey have conspired together to mislead the public on what’s causing the earthquake outbreak.
Okay, I guess that’s not really shocking or earth-rattling news. If you read this site, or have a condition called “common sense,” you’re probably aware that our state government wasn’t giving us the whole story on earthquakes and their links to the energy industry, but I guess it is good to finally know that our suspicions are justified.
Via Energy Wire:
Oklahoma’s state scientists have suspected for years that oil and gas operations in the state were causing a swarm of earthquakes, but in public they rejected such a connection.
When the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) did cautiously agree with other scientists about such a link, emails obtained by EnergyWire show the state seismologist was called into meetings with his boss, University of Oklahoma President David Boren, and oil executives “concerned” about the acknowledgement.
One of the oilmen was Continental Resources Chairman Harold Hamm, a leading donor to the university.
The seismologist, Austin Holland, told a senior U.S. Geological Survey official that as far back as 2010, OGS officials believed an earthquake swarm near Oklahoma City might have been triggered by the “Hunton dewatering,” an oil and gas project east of the city.
“Since early 2010 we have recognized the potential for the Jones earthquake swarm to be due to the Hunton dewatering,” Holland wrote to USGS science adviser Bill Leith in 2013. “But until we can demonstrate that scientifically or not we were not going to discuss that publicly.”
Instead, he pointed to changing lake levels.
Real quick, can I pull a Regular Jim Traber and give it up to myself? Instead of taking the bait like News 9, we called B.S. on that Arcadia Lake story and all the other energy industry-spun earthquake theories they tossed out there.
Back to the report.
And when USGS officials linked a “remarkable” surge in earthquakes in Oklahoma and other states to drilling waste disposal in 2012, OGS criticized their “rush to judgment.”
Holland told EnergyWire the intense personal interest shown by Boren, Hamm and other leaders hasn’t affected his scientific findings or those of OGS.
“None of these conversations affect the science that we are working on producing,” Holland told EnergyWire. “We have the academic freedoms necessary for university employees doing research.”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah right.
But Holland and OGS have been the voice of skepticism in the scientific community about connections between oil production activities and the hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the state.
Industry and political leaders in the state, where one out of every six jobs is linked to oil and gas, have seized on that skepticism.
“Researchers in Oklahoma, notably Austin Holland with the Oklahoma Geological Survey, have repeatedly said the increase in seismic activity cannot be fully explained by man-made causes,” Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA) President Mike Terry said in a 2013 statement.
Other states have ordered wells permanently shut down and imposed strict rules after earthquakes. But Oklahoma regulators have been reluctant to permanently shut down wells and have limited new regulations to information-gathering requirements.
“We know a lot of it’s just natural earthquakes that have occurred since the beginning of the earth,” Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said earlier this year in an interview with the Tulsa World, “but there has been some question about disposal wells.”
Oklahoma’s top elected officials have avoided talking about the state’s earthquake swarms, leaving the response largely to Holland, 40, who joined OGS in 2010. No other state official has done as many television and news interviews about earthquakes.
The agency’s 2012 annual report quipped that “Holland seems to be on everyone’s speed dial when the ground starts shaking.”
While I’m giving it up to myself, I also knew there was something up with this Austin Holland guy. Last month, I chalked it up to him being an in-over-his-head, inexperienced seismologist. That still may be the case, but thanks to the Energy Wire article and some emails they’ve uncovered, he’s now playing the role of sympathetic, confused, stressed scientist caught in the middle of a high-priced political game that’s way over his head. The poor guy’s been dealing with more pressure and stress than an active fault line.
Check this stuff out…
Who’s ready to hop in the Hummer and head down to Ada?!
Yesterday, a Mole tipped me off to a mysterious event that’s taking place on the East Central Oklahoma State University campus this Thursday night. At first glance, it appears to involve a couple of college traditions: underwear and oral sex.
Here’s a screenshot from the ECU event calendar:
Yep, a good old BJs in PJs party, or as they call it in Valley Brooke, a Friday night. I wonder what the university’s rival, Southeastearn Oklahoma State, is going to do to top this? HJs in FJs? DJs in VJs?
Something that sounds so perverse may seem like a strange event to have on a college campus, but hey, they have to get male high school students to enroll at East Central Central somehow.
“And there we have the Stonecipher College of Business…”
“That’s really nice. Uhm, when are we going to the BJs in PJs party?”
Where were organized events like this when I was in college? At UCO, BJs in PJs were informal, private events that usually took place after a long night of drinking at Henry Hudson’s. Now they have them in student unions. Crazy
For some reason, there is no additional information about the event on the East Central Website, so I opened up the incognito browser and Googled “BJs in PJs” for more details.
Sadly, this is what I found:
Today is election day in Oklahoma City for residents who live in Wards 2, 6 and 8. If you don’t know where your ward is located, check out the convenient map with the districts and boundaries. If you can’t read maps, I’ll try to describe them for you…
Ward 2: Diverse (for Oklahoma standards) area in Northwest OKC that basically covers the area between NW 23rd and The Village / Nichols Hills from Meridian to Broadway Extension.
Ward 6: This ward covers one thriving area (downtown) and one area that needs a little work (South Central Oklahoma City).
Ward 8: The guys running for this seat are an attorney, real estate agent and insurance salesman. Yeah, we’ll just go ahead and call this the “white collar ward.” Naturally, it encompasses the area in far Northwest Oklahoma City that most people probably consider to be Edmond.
Let’s take a look at the candidates. I thought I’d break each one down and then give an endorsement. We’ll start with Ward 2. The candidates are…
Ed Shadid, Spinal Surgeon
Since the dawn of man, concerned parents, judgemental gods and conservative government authorities have been trying to keep teenagers from having sex with each other. Outside of war, you can probably say it’s one of the great traditions of the human race. Sex between irresponsible 16-year-olds is bad. Sex between irresponsible adults is fine and fit for television.
Well, the Mustang School District is doing its part in keeping the tradition alive. Last week, they notified parents about an “abstinence and purity program” at the school called K.E.E.P.
Parents in Mustang got letters Wednesday asking them if they want their kids to take part in an abstinence and purity program.
According to the letter, the presentations will take place during science class at Mustang North Middle School next week.
“Your student has the opportunity to participate in KEEP (Kids Eagerly Endorsing Purity),” the letter reads. KEEP “reinforces the benefits of sexual abstinence until marriage and saying ‘no’ to drugs and alcohol for a lifetime,” it says…
Mustang Public Schools recently discussed introducing an elective Bible class but shelved the idea after public pressure.
As for the purity program, the superintendent declined to speak with KOCO 5.
The district did send a statement:
“A volunteer trained in the curriculum delivers the information, but the science teacher is present … the information does not include faith-based inferences.”
Parents have the option to keep their kids out of the class. KOCO 5 went to the school Thursday and most parents we spoke with say that while they have questions, they are allowing their kids to take part.
“I’m more in favor of it than against it. I think it will point our kids in a better direction,” said Brian Alexander, the father of a student.
When I was in high school, they had a very similar program to help kids remain horny, guilty, drug-free virgins. It was called orchestra.
Let’s take a look at this letter. How bad could it be?
State Rep. Josh Cockroft and his adorable wife, Jessica, who I think is related to either Pam from the Office or Peter Pan, are having a baby. We know this thanks to charming photos like the one above and strange, shameless Facebook posts like the one below….
Hey, I got a better idea. Why don’t you quit begging for free stuff on Facebook!? Get a job, ya’ loser!
Just kidding. I’m not a conservative crazy. Josh and I may disagree on a variety of issues, from public arts funding to plagiarism, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy for a fellow human being. We wish him, Jessica and little Cockroft the very best.
With that out-of-the-way…
Obviously, you have to wonder if posting something like that on a public Facebook account that’s primarily used for campaign/job purposes is an ethics violation. He’s an elected official. There are very strict rules on what types of gifts they can accept. What’s to prevent energy industry lobbyists or political insiders from buying the Cockroft’s a fancy new crib or 1,000 diapers as a “personal gift.”
I asked several Moles if Cockroft’s request was illegal or violated some sort of ethics rule. The answers ranged from “Not Sure” to “Probably” to “Yes.” They only thing they agreed with was Cockroft’s admission that the request was “shameless.”
With such a mixed response, I did some digging and found this bit on Oklahoma ethics guideline from OSCN.net:
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