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The Oklahoman won’t stop sucking the energy industry’s you-know-what…

12:01 PM EDT on September 12, 2016

what its like to read the oklahoman

Last week, we covered about The Oklahoman's ill-timed, ridiculous editorial that seriously tried to praise the job done by energy industry leaders (and the Oklahoma politicians they control) in addressing and handling the state's earthquake crisis. Considering Oklahoma is still experiencing man-made earthquakes on a regular basis, and some geologists are suggesting that even bigger ones may be on the horizon thanks to a "pulse" of pressure gyrating under our state, it was an embarrassing editorial by an even more embarrassing newspaper.

Now that our state has officially experienced its largest earthquake on record, and energy industry leaders are blocking media access to meetings about the earthquake crisis, obviously The Oklahoman has finally changed its tone and is demanding serious action be taken by lawmakers and energy industry leaders to stop, or at least try to prevent, future earthquakes.

Yeah right.

"The State's Most Trusted News" didn't do that at all. Just a few days after a terrifying 5.8-magnitude maxi-wedge multi-vortex shaker struck Pawnee, the paper doubled-down and reminded everyone a sad, terrifying truth – the energy industry is the cornerstone of the Oklahoma economy. They did this because it's something most Oklahomans forget when driving by oil wells, the Oklahoma City skyline, or the unemployment office to update their resume.


OKLAHOMA'S history is grounded in the oil and gas industry. And, as a new report makes clear, so is the state's present and likely future.

In a 50-state review, the American Petroleum Institute finds that Oklahoma is the nation's fifth-ranked state in total energy production. Oklahoma ranks in the top five states for both oil and natural gas output, and has a sizable wind power presence. Combine that with the storage hub at Cushing and several refineries, and Oklahoma clearly remains a major player in national and global energy markets.

API officials noted that Oklahoma produced nearly 2.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in 2015, “an all-time high for the state, ranking it third nationally. Production increased nearly 50 percent from 2006 to 2015.” Overall, Oklahoma supplied nearly 8.7 percent of the marketed natural gas in the nation.

Oklahoma crude oil production reached 157 million barrels last year, “the highest total since 1985. Production has increased 157.5 percent since 2005.”

The state has five operating refineries with a combined daily capacity of more than 500,000 barrels. And Oklahoma ranked fourth nationally in electricity generated from wind (18.6 percent).

That's awesome news! The next time a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shakes you out of bed on a Saturday morning, don't get mad. Instead, think about all the money energy companies and their out-of-state shareholders are making by recklessly draining our state's natural resources! It will put you in a better mood immediately.

API declared, “Oklahoma is integral in an American energy renaissance that has made the U.S. the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas, which has helped our economy and increased our energy security while benefiting individual households with energy cost savings. Oklahoma natural gas has helped boost the use of cleaner-burning gas across the country — the primary reason U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide are near 20-year lows.”

That last point is worth repeating: Oklahoma's energy industry is a major reason greenhouse gas emissions have declined. Global warming alarmists should take note. Opposition to drilling could cause the environmental problems they claim to oppose.

Yep, that's real. The Oklahoman (and the energy industry) is seriously trying to to take credit for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. That would be like the tobacco industry taking credit for a decrease in lung cancer deaths. Also, if global warming is a myth perpetuated by a majority of the world's leading scientists, why do we even care that greenhouse gas emissions have declined? Rapidly rising temperatures that have never been documented in history are part of ever-changing climate patterns. Drill baby, drill!

But even setting that point aside, the API report highlights again how Oklahoma has benefited greatly from energy production. The boom in production coincided with a massive infusion of money into the state economy and strong job creation for several years.

Obviously, the downside of being a major energy state is that you feel the impact of an oil bust more strongly, as is the case today.

We've certainly supported efforts to diversify Oklahoma's economy, but one cannot ignore the fact that the wealth created by energy companies has played a role in that diversification process, particularly in Oklahoma City in recent years. Without oil and gas jobs as a foundational element, much of the city's renaissance would not have happened. The ripple effects have extended far beyond those employed directly in the oil patch.

Some critics insist Oklahoma should have taxed oil and gas producers at far higher rates during the boom, and demand higher tax rates even in the current recession. Yet that would have deterred some investment and drilling, reducing economic growth. And, state and local governments collected far more in personal income, corporate income, sales and property taxes as the result of energy field growth. You don't choke the goose that's laying golden eggs.

Too often, many Oklahomans take our state's role in energy production for granted. The API report is a reminder that, while the boom-bust nature of energy markets is a challenge for Oklahoma, the state would be far worse off without its oil and gas industry.

And that's the end of the editorial. Notice how they didn't mention the word "earthquake" in it one time? Just like they did to Mary Fallin, I bet Devon Energy wouldn't let The Oklahoman's anonymous editorial writer say the E-word.

For what it's worth, I'm not arguing that the energy industry is not a cornerstone of the Oklahoma economy. Sadly, I very much understand the energy industry's importance to our state. When oil and gas prices are high, Oklahoma's not such bad place to live. Well, if you can look past the natural disasters, shitty educational system, mass incarceration, poverty, and power of the alt-right, theocrats and energy industry in local politics.

I guess what makes me different from the GOP mercenaries at The Oklahoman is that I see our relationship with the energy industry as a two-way street. Oklahoma's the place with the oil and gas, right? They need us just about as much as we need them. So, when the energy industry does shitty things that are harmful to Oklahoma like buying elections so they can have unwarranted tax subsidies, or causing natural disasters like earthquakes that may kill us all, I go the unconventional route. I choose to be critical of the industry and push for some sort of change as opposed to going down on them in a newspaper editorial and hope that everything will be fine.

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