Fracking Fingered: 100 Earthquakes In Oklahoma
The jury is still out on this one, but when Oklahoma gets more than 100 earthquakes in less than three months, attention naturally turns to fracking, the natural gas and oil drilling method that involves pumping a vast amounts of
chemical brine underground, with the resulting wastewater often disposed by injecting that underground, too.
It all makes for a messy, water-intensive operation, but a Bush/Cheney-era exemption from the Clean Water Act has enabled the fracking industry to largely evade the grasp of federal regulators. That leaves states like Oklahoma struggling to deploy scant oversight resources in the middle of a drilling boom.
Central Oklahoma earthquakes by kelleymcd.
Oklahoma Earthquake Investigators “Swamped”
The Oklahoma earthquake numbers are impressive. According to a report yesterday in Bloomberg, as the first week of April came to a close the state experienced had already experienced 109 earthquakes at or above magnitude 3.0, with more to follow.
That’s more 3.0-and-greater earthquakes than in all of last year, overwhelming the capacity of the Oklahoma Geological Survey to investigate the causes. Bloomberg’s Jim Efstathiou, Jr., cites OGS seismologist Austin Holland:
We certainly likely have cases of earthquakes being caused by different oil and gas activity. Evaluating those carefully can take significant amounts of time, especially when we’re... LINK
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