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Archive for Oklahoma Politics

Report: Politicians and Energy Execs really are trying to cover up the cause of Oklahoma’s earthquakes

oklahoma earthquake cover up

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.”


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…

Mustang North Middle School wants pure students…

teen mom

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.

Via KOCO.com:

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 begged his constituents for a nice baby shower gift…

josh cockroft

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….

josh cockroft FB post

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:

Jim Inhofe Is Still An Idiot (Part II)

peanuts inhoffe

Welcome to what will likely become a very regular series on The Lost Ogle. It’s called “Jim Inhofe Is Still An Idiot.” Each time our senile Senator from Tulsa does something stupid or idiotic to embarrass Oklahoma on the national stage, we’ll use this series to tell you about it. Well, at least until we run out of Roman numerals.

In today’s edition, let’s touch base on the scene Jim Inhofe caused yesterday when he brought a snowball into the US Senate chambers to prove once and for all that global warming is a myth perpetuated by 98% of the world’s leading scientists.

Here’s the video:

Other forms of conversion therapy Oklahoma lawmakers should consider

Kern, Sally

As you probably know, Sally Kern, that writhing hive of spiders in a skinsuit, introduced legislation this session that would protect the rights of controlling parents to abuse their children by sending them to gay conversion therapy. It’s part of her plan to ensure that more Oklahoma teens have access to suicidal thoughts and tendencies.

According to NewsOK.com:

A bill that seeks to protect the practice of gay conversion counseling passed out of an Oklahoma House committee Tuesday.

House Bill 1598, which now goes to the full House, says the state will not prohibit or restrict counseling intended to rid people of attraction to those of their own gender. It also seeks to protect parents who want such counseling for their children.

Nothing prevents this type of counseling now, but Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, said her bill is needed because the practice is under attack legislatively in other states.

“All across the nation, bills are being introduced to ban parents from having the right to take their children for counseling if they are struggling with same-sex attractions,” Kern said. “As you know, we do lots of bills that are pre-emptive, so this is pre-emptive to make sure that parental rights are upheld.”

See? Hive of spiders in a skin suit.

We here at The Lost Ogle are not fans of this legislation for many reasons. Gay conversion therapy is harmful both physically and psychologically. It attempts to change something that is not changeable. And we’re also just not down with telling people to change who they are so it fits the ideals found in a 2,000 year old book.

However, maybe Kern is onto something. There are lots of things worth changing when it comes to the human race, so we thought maybe we would introduce new conversion therapies to the state, ones that would do more good than harm. For example…

aaron tuttle halloween

Spray Tan Conversion Therapy

We would recommend this therapy to Aaron Tuttle. I know he’s big into the bodybuilding game, but there is something unholy and unnatural about a streaky orange man.

Sir John Michael

Lemon Conversion Therapy

For this one, we’re going to get Sir John Michael to lead the therapy sessions. Because when life gives you lemons, he knows just how to turn it around.