The Roundup

The Okie Weekly Reader, ‘Bye, Bye Aubrey’ Edition

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Posted 07.06.12

Each week, we scour the Web for the most interesting Okie-related news being reported both in the state and outside of it. We’re always looking for new links, so if you’ve read something you think we should see, let us know in the comments.

  • According to a new Reuters report, the United States Justice Department is probing Chesapeake Energy Corp. and its rival Encana Corp. for possible collusion following a report, also by Reuters, that the two plotted in 2010 to avoid bidding against each other in Michigan land deals. “Communications between the companies occurred in 2010, when Michigan’s Collingwood shale formation was considered one of the nation’s most promising new oil and gas plays, and Chesapeake and Encana were among the largest bidders for land leases there,” Reuters reported. More:

In one email, Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon told one of his deputies on June 16, 2010, that it was time “to smoke a peace pipe” with Encana “if we are bidding each other up.”

The Chesapeake vice president responded that he had contacted Encana “to discuss how they want to handle the entities we are both working to avoid us bidding each other up in the interim.” McClendon replied: “Thanks.”

  • The Columbia Journalism Review praised Reuters’ “first-rate investigative journalism” and speculated, based on its seemingly mysterious acquisition of the aforementioned emails, which aren’t from a lawsuit and aren’t subject to open-records laws, that “Reuters has one helluva mole at the company.” CJR also called Reuters’ most recent report “the biggest yet—one that surely means the end of the road for McClendon.”

Photo courtesy Flickr user jbtuohy.

  • Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett waxed proud in The Huffington Post about his city’s transformation through a series of voter-approved investments that began in 1993. “Twenty-five years ago, Oklahoma City was competing for businesses with a toolbox full of attractive financial incentives and we were coming up short,” he wrote. “We asked for a candid appraisal from a notable business we didn’t get and were told that our incentives were as good, or better, than the competition. They simply didn’t think their employees would want to live here.” He continued:

Oklahoma City decided to change that.

An innovative new program, Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS), was developed through which we could invest in our community. The program featured defined capital projects that would be funded by a penny sales tax. The tax would have a start date and an end date and the projects would be paid for in cash, without incurring debt. …

The bottom line is that we have entered an age when local communities need to invest in themselves. Federal and state dollars are becoming more and more scarce for American cities. Political and civic leaders in local communities need to make a compelling case for this investment.

  • Oklahoma will be well-represented on the men’s gymnastics team at the London Olympics—five current or former Sooners are headed to the games, Yahoo! Sports reported. “Two of the University of Oklahoma gymnasts who competed at the Olympic Trials this past week were selected to be part of the five-man squad that is set to compete in London,” the site reported. “Of course, gymnastics is a tough sport, and competitors are always at risk of injury, so each team brings along alternates. Team USA is bringing three alternates, all of whom are also Sooners.”
  • Jim Marston, blogging for the Environmental Defense Fund, questioned whether or not Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe is looking out for his state’s best interests in his enduring denial of global climate change. Marston also criticized Inhofe’s “attempts to undermine EPA standards that will help reduce rising greenhouse gas emissions,” and his opposition to clean energy, even when it could bolster his home state’s economy. Marston wrote:

Natural gas prices are very low. One thing that may cause prices to rise is increased demand for gas to replace dirty coal. Inexplicably, Senator Inhofe and royalty owners support out of state coal businesses to the detriment of Oklahoma natural gas companies. Rather than encourage jobs in his state, the Senator chooses to protect coal jobs in West Virginia and Wyoming. As Oklahomans suffer from record heat, watch their energy bills rise and see their crops die, they should thank Senator Inhofe for refusing to do anything to improve the outlook for future summers in the Sooner State.

  • This week, on the public radio program The Living Room with Gerry Bonds, Neal McCaleb, chairman of the board for Chickasaw Nation Industries, and J.D. Strong, executive director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, debated about who owns Oklahoma’s water. You can listen to their conversation via the link above.

Image courtesy Floating Sheep.

  • The Atlantic CitiesMap of the Day yesterday compared the prevalence of church to beer in American counties. Created by cartographers at Floating Sheep, the map analyzes geotagged tweets “sent within the continental US between June 22 and June 28 (about 10 million in total) and extracted all tweets containing the word ‘church’ (17,686 tweets of which half originated on Sunday) or ‘beer’ (14,405 tweets which are much more evenly distributed  throughout the week).” In Oklahoma, beer appears to be slightly more prevalent than church throughout most of the state. Most church-themed tweets were sent out from Tulsa and Oklahoma counties, and beer-themed tweets from Dewey, Grady, Noble, Pittsburgh and Rogers counties.

Holly Wall, News Editor