WASHINGTON — Two House Democrats called Wednesday for a hearing on whether earthquakes in Oklahoma and other states are being caused by activities related to hydraulic fracturing.
Reps. Peter DeFazio, the top Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, and Henry Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the two panels should hold a joint hearing to study the increase of seismic activity in areas that had previously been inactive and “the potential regulatory gaps in current law that put people and property at risk from man-made earthquakes.”
In a letter to the Republicans who control the committees, the lawmakers said, “The tremendous boom in U.S. oil and natural gas production over the past several years has been the result of the expanded use of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, techniques that generate large quantities of wastewater, which is often disposed of through underground injection.”
A news release from the Democrats says the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey have indicated that “the injection of wastewater generated from oil and gas activities, such as fracking, may be a potential contributing factor to the over-tenfold increase in earthquake frequency in Oklahoma since 2009.”
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