earthquakes

usgs.gov

The U.S. Geological Survey on Monday released for the first time maps that forecast regions that could experience damage from human-triggered earthquakes. Oklahoma has the highest risk for potential shaking, researchers say.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to approve new rules specifying how agency staff and disposal well operators will settle disputes over regulatory actions issued to reduce earthquakes.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Oklahoma House on Monday voted to approve legislation clarifying and confirming the authority of state oil and gas regulators to take actions designed to stop industry-linked earthquakes.The measure, House Bill 3158, authored by House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, gives the Oklahoma Corporation Commission exclusive jurisdiction to “take whatever action is necessary” in responding to oil-field emergencies.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The Sierra Club filed a federal lawsuit today against three Oklahoma energy companies over earthquakes linked to oil and gas production.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District in Oklahoma City, accuses Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy and New Dominion of operating wastewater injection wells that have contributed to a massive spike in earthquakes in Oklahoma and Kansas.

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake that struck  northwestern Oklahoma over the weekend was widely felt in Kansas City and as far south as Dallas and could be one of the largest ever recorded in Oklahoma.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Saturday’s late-morning temblor is likely the state's largest since 2011, when a 5.6-magnitude temblor injured two people and damaged homes near the town of Prague.

Steve Foster, the emergency manager for Woods County, says no injuries or major damage were reported from the intense Saturday quake or its aftershocks.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A former research seismologist with the Oklahoma Geological Survey says agency leaders and other state officials fostered a culture of hesitation and reluctance to act on science suggesting the state’s earthquake boom was linked to oil and gas activities.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

The power and frequency of earthquakes in Oklahoma have been increasing, but the Legislature has done little to try to curb the temblors that scientists have linked to the underground disposal of oil and gas drilling wastewater.

That could change this year, as angry residents have been increasingly turning up at town hall meetings and legislative hearings to call for state leaders to address the problem.

Scientists still can't predict an earthquake. The U.S. government, however, has a warning system in the works that it hopes could quickly send out a widespread alarm before most people feel a rumble — and save lives when seconds count.

The recently upgraded network of seismometers and computers, known as ShakeAlert, is advancing through the prototype-testing stage, Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, said at a news conference Tuesday.

Gov. Mary Fallin is preparing to deliver her sixth State of the State address to Oklahoma legislators, outlining her priorities for a state that is reeling from a downturn in the oil and gas industry.

The second-term Republican is expected to deliver her remarks about 12:45 p.m. Monday to a joint meeting of the House and Senate as the Legislature convenes its 2016 session. Fallin also will release her proposed balanced budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, including how she will fill a $900 million hole. That is about a 13 percent reduction from last year's spending.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin on Thursday approved the transfer of nearly $1.4 million from the state emergency fund to strengthen Oklahoma’s earthquake response.

The money is going to a pair of agencies tasked with researching the earthquake surge and regulating the oil and gas activities likely causing it.

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