Wednesday, January 22, 2014

More than 30 earthquakes hit Texas towns after start of fracking

Fracking, a process of injecting large quantities of a chemical cocktail into the earth to tap subterranean natural gas reserves, has long been associated with seismic activity, and researchers last year linked drill sites to a series of quakes in parts of Ohio. Some Azle-area residents now say there’s no doubt that recent tremors across town have been brought on by similar operations in the Lone Star State, and on Tuesday they assembled before the Texas Railroad Commission to demand they action.
More than a hundred of residents appeared the comission that regulates mineral energy production in the state of Texas
“No disrespect, but this isn’t rocket science here,” Reno Mayor Lynda Stokes testified during the hearing. “Common sense tells you the wells are playing a big role in all this.”

As RT reports, at one point during the hearing, a man who identified himself as a retired rocket scientist said it doesn’t take someone with his expertise to see that increased fracking is causing the quakes.
“The correlation of increased fracking wastewater disposal and increased earthquakes is blindingly obvious,” another attendee, Sharon Wilson of the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, told the commission.
“If Texas regulators want to show that they’re not owned by the oil and gas industry,” Wilson said, they can “act now, study later.”
When Wilson later on read to the commission her requests, the crowd erupted in applause.
“We have three things that we’d like to ask for,” Wilson said. “We’d like to ask for wastewater injection to halt until the science exists to prevent related earthquakes; we’d like all seismic data collected to be publically available online and in real time; [and] we’d like those responsible for the injection wells to be held presumptively liable for damages caused earthquakes in the area.”
Larry Griffith of Briar, TX told the commission that his mobile home is roughly five miles away from the nearest fracking site but has felt the quakes nonetheless.
“I was standing in my house and it felt like a big truck hit the struck of the side of the house,” he said.
“You’re putting a layer of water underneath an open hole that’s causing the ground to be unstable. Who’s to say it’s not going to collapse and cause tremors?” Griffith asked.
Geologist Billy Caldwell told WFAA News ahead of the hearing that he has spent more than 50 years evaluating wells within the state for the oil and gas industry, and estimated that the big wigs involved in fracking drills wouldn’t be happy with his research.
“Caldwell said there are three small fault lines directly northwest of Azle,” the station reported. “He thinks it is likely that water being injected back into the earth at fracking disposal sites is leaking into these fault planes.”
“That causes slippage, and that causes the earthquakes," Caldwell told WFAA.
Todd Unger at WFAA reported that the commissions claims they are in the process of looking for a seismologist to examine local drill sites, but the group has already determined that at least one of the injection drills has had issues.
Voice of Russia, RT

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