US delays review of Keystone XL pipeline
WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit.
That could push a decision about the controversial oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November.
The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation.
The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn't starting over.
The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.
OKLAHOMA CITY MEMORIAL
Oklahoma City bombing museum sees technology boost
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A memorial and museum about the Oklahoma City bombing is in the midst of a $7 million upgrade ahead of the 20-year anniversary of the attack in hopes of better portraying to visitors how different the world was at the time.
Saturday is the 19th anniversary of the worst act of domestic terrorism on American soil.
Officials at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum say too many patrons, especially younger ones, don't realize that the days of constant cellphone contact and instant information developed since then.
Now, 14 years since the memorial opened, directors say more information is available about the bombing and subsequent trials and the museum needs to adapt to the way students learn.
The project includes creating interactive displays and new exhibits on the criminal trials.
INDIAN CHILD WELFARE DISPUTE
Fallin questioned repercussions in custody dispute
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Email correspondence shows that Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin sought to speak with advisers about repercussions with the Cherokee Nation as she considered intervening in a custody dispute involving a Cherokee girl.
Veronica was in the center of a custody battle between her biological father, Cherokee Nation member Dusten Brown, and her adopted parents.
The email correspondence is among thousands of pages released to The Associated Press on Friday under an open-records request.
The correspondence included news articles about the case, strategy between the governor and her advisers and emails from constituents.
Fallin had signed an extradition order for Brown to face a criminal charge for refusing to hand over Veronica.
But Brown ultimately handed the child over to her adopted parents and the extradition order was dropped.
EXECUTION DRUGS-OKLAHOMA LAWSUIT
Oklahoma AG appeals district court decision
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office has asked the state Supreme Court to reverse a ruling by a district judge who invalidated a state statute that protects the identity of suppliers of lethal injection drugs.
The Attorney General's Office said Friday that Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish ruled in error when she sided with death row inmates Clayton Lockett and Charles Warner. The judge ruled in March that the state statute protecting drug suppliers was unconstitutional because inmates could not find out the source of drugs used in their executions, even during court proceedings.
Lawyers for the state contend that previous rulings by two federal appeals courts provide precedent that the state statute is constitutional and that the district court's ruling is "an overbroad interpretation" of access to the courts.
Oklahoma unemployment rate hits 5-year low
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma's unemployment rate has fallen to a five-year low, dropping below 5 percent for the first time since 2008.
The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reports that the state's unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in March, down from 5 percent in February. With the help of a booming oil and natural gas industry, Oklahoma's unemployment rate remains well below the national average of 6.7 percent.
The OESC reports about 89,400 Oklahomans were unemployed in March.
The state's seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment grew by about 2,100 jobs last month, with most of the gains coming in the educational and health services sector. The only sector to report job losses in March was government, which shed about 1,700 jobs.
Tulsa businessman Kaiser joins Thunder ownership
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Tulsa businessman George Kaiser has joined the Oklahoma City Thunder's ownership team.
Thunder chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday.
Kaiser is president, CEO and primary owner of GBK Corp., parent of Kaiser-Francis Oil Company, which he has managed for 40 years. He also is chairman of the board and majority shareholder of BOK Financial Corp. and a major shareholder in several energy, oil and gas, mining and technology companies. He is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
In addition, through a transaction approved by the NBA Board of Governors, Bennett, Aubrey K. McClendon, William M. Cameron and Jay Scaramucci have each purchased ownership interests from G. Jeffrey Records Jr.
Records remains a significant owner of the team, and MidFirst remains a major sponsor.
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