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Archives for May 2012

Summary of the Formal Hearing for the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer

Arbuckle-Simpson The Formal Hearing for the Tentative Determination of Maximum Annual Yield for the Arbuckle-Simpson Groundwater Basin (TMAY Hearing) was held at the Murray County Expo Center on May 15th and 16th. CPASA joined a number of other parties supporting the TMAY Determination approved by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB), including the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Ada, the City of Durant, the City of Sulphur, the City of Tishomingo, the Oklahoma Chapter of the Sierra Club, and approximately 300 local citizens.

Appearing in opposition to the TMAY Determination was the Oklahoma Farm Bureau Legal Foundation, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Pontotoc County Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, Oklahoma Aggregates Association, Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, TXI, U.S. Silica, Environmental Federation of Oklahoma, Inc., and Arbuckle-Simpson Environmental Federation of Oklahoma, Inc. (herein “Corporate Interests”). Other opposition included the Arbuckle-Simpson Landowners Group and a number of individuals.

The Corporate Interests hired three experts to attack the OWRB’s TMAY Determination, although only two experts actually testified, in an effort to unravel Senate Bill 288 and to call into question the six-year, multi-million dollar, peer-reviewed scientific study conducted by the OWRB, U.S. Geologic Survey, and others. CPASA and other supporters vigorously defended the scientific study, which is the most comprehensive and detailed investigation of any groundwater basin in the State of Oklahoma.


Others in opposition to the TMAY Determination argued it was a wrongful taking of private property. However, the Supreme Court of Oklahoma has long held the OWRB’s regulation of groundwater is constitutional and thus not a takings of private property rights. CPASA’s position on the issue remains the same—the TMAY Determination protects private property rights. Without a final maximum annual yield (MAY) determination, the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer’s groundwater is in danger of being drained by over-pumping. Thus, CPASA believes that the TMAY Determination—and, ultimately, the final MAY determination—protects private property rights by ensuring property owners always have groundwater beneath their land.

The administrative record will remain open until May 31st. Accordingly, if you were unable to attend the TMAY Hearing, you may still submit comments to the OWRB until 5:00 pm, May 31, 2012. After the record closes, the Hearing Examiner will review the information presented and submit a formal recommendation to the OWRB on whether the TMAY Determination should be approved. After the recommendation is made, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board shall then make a final determination on the maximum annual yield for the Arbuckle-Simpson Groundwater Basin.


This info and photo was provided to us by Citizens For The Protection Of The Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer (CPASA). Please contact CPASA for more info.

Oklahoma on Pace for One of the Driest Mays on Record

This year has been already been a record breaking warm year. There has also been a lack of our normal stormy May weather. And according to Mesonet, Oklahoma is in the midst of a flash drought.

“A flash drought is exactly what its name implies — a more rapid development of drought (monthly time scale) as compared to its normal time scale (seasonal). The distinction is very much akin to the difference between river flooding and flash flooding … the time scale is the key.”- Mesonet

While flash droughts normally start in the summer months, this hasn’t been a normal year. We have had all of the necessary ingredients for a flash drought: lack of rain, hot weather, and lots of sun. We have also been having a lot of windy weather which also dries things out more quickly.


Oklahoma is still feeling the stress from last year’s devastating drought. It was a stress on our economy as well as the land itself. Oklahomans are still dealing with all of the dead trees, damage from all of the wildfires and of course the strain that was felt by farmers and ranchers. Farmers and ranchers have also been dealing with issues from the early spring. Spring grasses have been competing with summer grasses leading to worries about feeding livestock this summer. Bugs are also out in larger numbers this year since we didn’t have much of a winter to kill them off.

In the last 30 days, Oklahoma is down 2.25 inches of rain statewide and as much as 3.74 inches in southeastern Oklahoma. The last time southeastern Oklahoma was that dry for this period of time was in 1988, which is the driest May on record. That year saw a fairly significant and damaging summer drought.

What has helped Oklahoma so far is the large amount of rainfall in April but with the heat and wind the soil is being dried out quickly. There is good news, rain is in the forecast for next week and it would provide some much needed relief but Oklahoma should be aware that current conditions could lead to a drought again this summer.

Are you concerned about the flash drought? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Al Jazeera English


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.


 

 

Naturally Deter Moths

Moths are everywhere in Oklahoma right now and one place you don’t want them is in your home. Moths can do some real damage to wool and other clothing items, so how can you keep them away? A common method is moth balls but they contain harmful chemicals that can have major health effects. Thankfully there are safe ways to deter moths.

  • Lavender: Dip cotton balls in some lavender essential oil and/or fill sachets with dried lavender. Place these anywhere you are worried about moths getting. Bonus, lavender grows very well in Oklahoma and is drought tolerant so you can grow your own.
  • Mint: Mint can be used just like lavender.
  • Cedar: You can buy cedar oil and even cedar planks that are made to hang in your closet to keep moths away.
  • Vacuum often: Moths like dirt so be sure to keep your house vacuumed regularly.
  • Tipnut has a great “recipe” for making your own moth deterrent. Check it out for even more ideas.

Added bonus, these tips smell WAY better than moth balls! Plus they won’t make you sick. And if you have more tips be sure to share them in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo credit: Furryscaly



About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.


 

Sen. Inhofe is Looking to Stop the EPA’s Power Plant Mercury Rule

coal power plantSen. James Inhofe (R. Okla.) announced on a webcast hosted by the conservative group, FreedomWorks, earlier this week that he plans to kill the EPA’s new mercury emissions rule for power plants. The resolution, S.J. Res. 37, can be brought to the Senate floor by Sen.Inhofe at any point.

The rule that Sen. Inhofe wants to kill is estimated to save 11,000 lives, prevent 130,000 asthma attacks and avoid 4,700 heart attacks. It would also have economic benefits of up to $90 billion per year. But Sen. Inhofe believes the plan is to kill coal which he says “runs this machine called America.”

However, coal now only makes up 36% of our energy, down from 44.6% just a year earlier. Coal is a fossil fuel which we are running out of and the coal that is left is getting harder and more dangerous to get. And while coal does provide some jobs what has really hurt the number of coal mining jobs is the coal industry itself.


“Historically in the U.S. the prevalent method of coal acquisition was underground mining, a process that is very labor-intensive. Through the use of explosives and large machinery, MTR (Mountaintop Removal) mining can extract more than two and a half times as much coal per worker per hour than in traditional underground mines, thus greatly reducing the number of workers needed. The industry lost approximately 10,000 jobs from 1990 to 1997, as MTR and other more mechanized mining methods became more widely used.”- read more

And Sen. Inhofe did admit that mercury is a “real pollutant” and that the Clean Air Act has been good,

“If you look at the Clean Air regulations they were good. They worked. If you look back to the Bush administration we had the clear skies act that they refused to act on that would have done away with SO2, NOx, mercury, real pollutants.”

However, he still feels this rule is not a good thing. And while his resolution is not expected to pass, it’s important that all that are concerned about clean air reach out to Sen. Inhofe and let him know. Jobs are very important but so is our health. Clean energy creates jobs as well, so let’s tell Sen. Inhofe that those are the jobs we want, along with cleaner air.

How do you feel about Sen. Inhofe’s position on the EPA”s mercury rule? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo credit: Rennett Stowe


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 


Oklahoma’s Endangered Species

Today is Endangered Species Day. Oklahoma is home to several endangered species, some you may have never even heard of. This list from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation shows just how many we have.

Endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker

State-listed Threatened and Endangered Wildlife Species:

Federal-listed Threatened and Endangered Wildlife Species:


It’s important that we protect these species so they don’t just disappear. These animals play different and important roles in our ecosystem. For one, bats help keep bug populations down, including the hated and disease carrying mosquitoes.

One example of how losing species in the state can effect things is our increased number of deer.

“Historically, large predators played a major role in controlling deer herds, but with the removal of the gray wolf and near elimination of the mountain lion, the only effective means of controlling deer numbers is through regulated hunting.”- Ecology and Management of Deer in Oklahoma

When we mess with one species others are effected, this is why protecting endangered species is so very important. We also want our grandkids to get to see the great wildlife Oklahoma has to offer.

We would love to hear your thoughts on endangered species in Oklahoma and ways to protect them. Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook.

Photo credit: n88n88


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 

Greener Lawn Care

Tulsa will have their first ozone alert day on Friday and that means it’s important to avoid gas powered lawn equipment. Also a Swedish study conducted in 2001 found, “Air pollution from cutting grass for an hour with a gasoline powered lawn mower is about the same as that from a 100-mile automobile ride.” So it’s even better if you can avoid gas powered lawn equipment all the time.

It’s not just lawn mowers that are hurting the plant when it comes to lawn care. Lawns can require a lot of water, toxic herbicides, and more. There are ways to make your lawn more eco-friendly, here are some of our favorite tips.


Skip the gas powered lawn mower and use a battery powered lawn mower like a WORX mower or if you have a small flat lawn a reel mower could be a good and very affordable option. Don’t forget eco-friendly options for other lawn equipment too.

If you must water your lawn be sure to water in the morning or evening. If you water during the hot part of the day a lot of the water will evaporate. You can also look into a gray water system and rain barrels.

With plants be sure to look for native and drought-tolerate plants that don’t require much water. Local nurseries can help you pick out the best plants for your area and needs.

Studies have linked Roundup to birth defects, as well as other health issues and it’s not very good for the environment. A better safe option for weeds is white vinegar. It’s even super cheap! Simply get a pump sprayer (look in the lawn care section of your local home improvement store) and fill it with white vinegar and spray on the weeds. Be sure to just spot treat as it will kill grass as well. In your flower beds cardboard and/or layers of newspaper around the plants with mulch on top is a great way to keep the weeds away.

Since Oklahoma didn’t have much of a winter, bugs seem to be a big problem! EcoSmart is a easy to find brand that is pretty good and works well. Soapy water will kill some bugs and garlic is good for keeping the bugs off your plants. It seems to keep bunnies from eating plants as well! Find more natural options by clicking here.

So this spring and summer be sure to choose greener ways to care for your lawn! And if you have a good tip, share it with us in the comments below or head over to Facebook to join in the conversation.


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 

New Studies Says Recent Earthquakes Are “Almost Certainly Manmade”

With another 3.9 earthquake rocking Oklahoma on Thursday, many Oklahoman’s are wanting to know what is causing the earthquakes. A U.S. Geological Survey, led by USGS geophysicist, William Ellsworth, has linked part of oil and natural gas production to a series of recent earthquakes from Alabama to the Northern Rockies.

According to EnergyWire, Ellsworth is frustrated with confusion over the study and says that fracking does not cause big earthquakes. Something some websites have been mistakingly reporting. The possible cause is thought to be underground injection of drilling waste water, the wells are called Class II wells.

Class II wells inject fluids associated with oil and natural gas production. Most of the injected fluid is salt water (brine), which is brought to the surface in the process of producing (extracting) oil and gas. In addition, brine and other fluids are injected to enhance (improve) oil and gas production. The approximately 144,000 Class II wells in operation in the United States inject over 2 billion gallons of brine every day. Most oil and gas injection wells are in Texas, California, Oklahoma, and Kansas.- read more


Part of the confusion comes from the fact that the term fracking is often used to cover all aspects of shale drilling, including waste disposal, while the industry uses the term to just describe one part of the production process. Links were found between oil and gas waste injection and the 5.6 earthquake that rocked Oklahoma in November as well as a 5.3 earthquake in Colorado in August.

“Something is going on out of the ordinary,” Ellsworth said. “The largest preponderance of evidence,” he said, points to the Oklahoma and Colorado quakes and the rise in the number of midcontinent earthquakes being caused by injection of wastewater from oil and gas drilling. –read more

David J. Hayes, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior, wrote a blog post shortly after the media began reporting on the USGS study to try and clarify some things. While he agreed that they seismicity rate change in the middle part of the United State is likely manmade, he went on to say that “…it remains to be determined if they are related to either changes in production methodologies or to the rate of oil and gas production”

He concluded by saying,

“It’s clear that science is a key part of the Obama administration’s all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, and we will continue to research these important questions – working with industry and our state, federal and academic partners to ensure that we continue to expand oil and gas production safely and responsibly in the United States.”- read more

Studies on the effects of both fracking and  waste water injection wells are on-going and we will continue to learn more. One thing is very clear, earthquakes have been increasing in places like Oklahoma and while most have been quite small it’s still wise to be prepared for them and to make sure your home owners insurance covers earthquakes.

Sources:
http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class2/
http://www.eenews.net/public/energywire/2012/04/23/3
http://www.doi.gov/news/doinews/Is-the-Recent-Increase-in-Felt-Earthquakes-in-the-Central-US-Natural-or-Manmade.cfm
Photo- martinluff


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.