Thursday, October 31, 2013

Gas Regulators Must Respond To USGS Earthquake/Liquids Disposal Warning For Oklahoma City Region

This warning of increased earthquake risk in the Oklahoma City region should be big news.

USGS points to substantial data that the number of earthquakes in the Oklahoma City region has increased substantially, skyrocketing to 40 per year from 2009 to mid-2013. That is startling higher than the 1 to 3 earthquakes per year experienced from 1970 to 2008.

USGS further reports that some of the earthquakes can be felt at the surface, do damage, and register 4 or 5 on the Richter scale. This is a serious matter and should again be big news.

What is the cause of the skyrocketing number of earthquakes? Almost certainly deep underground disposal of liquids that are mainly wastewater from oil and gas operations.

The USGS warning is remarkable! But to my knowledge it has not led to any regulatory response from either Oklahoma's regulators or the EPA.

To put in bluntly, it would be regulatory malpractice to ignore the USGS warning and the data that form its basis. But that may be exactly what is happening.

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