The town of Denton, Texas is embroiled in a debate over fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, to extract natural gas. Fracking has brought a steady stream of revenue to Denton for years, but this Tuesday, the Denton city council will consider banning fracking because of environmental concerns. For more, I spoke with Abrahm Lustgarten. He's an environmental reporter for ProPublica, and he explained what some residents of Denton are worried about.
Oklahoma has been rattled by a surge of earthquakes, which many scientists say is likely linked to oil and gas drilling. On Thursday night, residents packed a contentious town hall meeting to demand answers from public officials. Joe Wertz from StateImpact Oklahoma reports.
There was booing and shouts for regulators to impose a moratorium on the oil and gas disposal wells. Local resident Ester D. Blaine said she had to take all the pictures off her walls. She says citizens and scientists don’t stand a chance against Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry.
When Austin Holland was being considered for his job as the sole seismologist at the Oklahoma Geological Survey in 2009, his interviewer posed a wry question: "Are you going to be able to entertain yourself as a seismologist in Oklahoma?" Back then, the state had a 30-year average of only two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or higher per year.
For the past three decades, Oklahoma averaged about 50 earthquakes a year. But that number has skyrocketed in the past few years. In 2013 — the state's most seismically active year ever — there were almost 3,000.
The quakes are small, and they're concentrated in the central part of the state, where the Erwins live.