Democrats want hearing on whether earthquakes are linked to fracking

Citing research on Oklahoma earthquakes, two Democrats call on Republican committee leaders to look into unusual seismic activity.
by Chris Casteel Modified: December 18, 2013 at 8:49 pm •  Published: December 19, 2013
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photo - A drilling rig used for hydraulic fracturing is trucked across a water hose at a drill site Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas. The drilling method known as fracking uses huge amounts of high-pressure, chemical-laced water to free oil and natural gas trapped deep in underground rocks. With fresh water not as plentiful companies have been looking for ways to recycle their waste. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A drilling rig used for hydraulic fracturing is trucked across a water hose at a drill site Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas. The drilling method known as fracking uses huge amounts of high-pressure, chemical-laced water to free oil and natural gas trapped deep in underground rocks. With fresh water not as plentiful companies have been looking for ways to recycle their waste. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

The release states, “Independent peer-reviewed work has also identified a link between underground fluid injection and the largest earthquake ever recorded in the state of Oklahoma — a magnitude 5.7 quake in November 2011 that resulted in two injuries and significant property damage.”

Austin Holland, a seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey and author of a recent report on seismic activity in Love County, told The Oklahoman in October that it is still unclear why the state has experienced a significant increase in seismic activity over the past four years.

“There are researchers that say all of the earthquakes we've had recently have to be due to oil and gas injection,'' Holland said.

“I don't think it can be that simple. I don't think we can explain it all through changes in our oil and gas activity or that somehow we've hit the tipping point for the state. It's an interesting question and something I spend a lot of time thinking about.”


by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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