Acceptable damage?

Despite years of declarations of the safety of using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) for natural gas and some oil extraction by the fossil fuel industry, you just can’t tell an earthquake to be quiet so people don’t notice.

An article January 7 in USA Today, “Oklahoma hit with 70 quakes in a week” is a good summary of the impacts of fracking being felt in that area of the country.  “A state report last year noted a connection between hydraulic fracturing and some earthquake ‘swarms,’ and state officials say there’s a potential risk to the public due to the increase in quakes.  Experts say the quakes are likely being caused by injection wells, which are particularly deep wells into which drilling byproducts and wastewater are injected, rather than wells drilled to extract oil or gas.”

No longer able to avoid the facts,  Oklahoma state regulators have ordered companies to scale back or halt the injection operations.  At least one company is refusing to do so.

The article ends with this quote by Undersherrif Reams  “As long as they’re staying in the four-point-whatever range, I think we’ll be OK”  referring to the magnitudes of the quakes.

So we are no longer arguing about whether fracking causes earthquakes, but how many earthquakes, and how strong, are acceptable as fracking continues?

Sustainability Scout

 

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