fracking

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

SandRidge Energy has agreed to shutter some disposal wells in earthquake-prone northern Oklahoma in a settlement that avoids legal action by state oil and gas regulators.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Scores of worried residents sounded off to state lawmakers at a pair of public meetings on Thursday and Friday about Oklahoma’s earthquake boom. Republicans and Democrats each held their own earthquake hearings. Both were rowdy.

People spoke out about home damage, insurance problems and potential injuries. They also chastised state officials for failing to rein in oil and gas activities linked to the shaking. At the Edmond meeting organized by Republican Representative Lewis Moore, people interrupted and yelled.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

A string of widely felt earthquakes is rattling residents and seismologists, who are warning that parts of Oklahoma could be primed for more severe shaking.

More than 5,700 earthquakes shook the state in 2015 — a record year of seismic activity in Oklahoma. The New Year is off to a shaky start.

Fourteen Edmond residents filed a lawsuit Monday against a dozen oil and gas companies, “claiming their saltwater disposal wells were in part to blame for earthquakes that hit central Oklahoma in recent weeks,” The Oklahoman‘s Paul Monies reports.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

Oklahoma City residents woke early New Year's Day to a magnitude 4.2 quake. Earlier this week, a magnitude 4.3 quake struck the same area.

The state isn't historically known for earthquakes, but NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce told our Newscast unit that Oklahoma "has recently seen a dramatic rise in seismic activity." Here's more:

Al Jazeera America’s documentary on Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry-linked earthquake surge airs Dec. 13. The doc includes an unfettered interview with former state seismologist Austin Holland on his last day at the Oklahoma Geological Survey, during which he details industry pressure and conflicts of interest by state officials tasked with studying the shaking.

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The annual Oklahoma Governor’s Water Conference in Norman included updates on regional water plans, drought mitigation, and experts from other states sharing their water insights. But, Governor Mary Fallin came with a new idea to save water — and reduce earthquakes.

Fallin told the crowd Oklahoma’s oil and gas industry injected 1.5 billion barrels of wastewater from fracking into the ground last year, a process scientists have linked to the state’s earthquake swarm.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

In the five years since earthquakes first began blitzing Oklahoma, state officials have been hesitant to agree with scientists who blamed the oil and gas industry.

The shaking doesn't appear to be slowing, but the regulatory response is ramping up as more state officials acknowledge the link between increased seismic activity and waste fluid pumped into the disposal wells of oil fields.

To show how an oil and gas boom fueled a massive surge of earthquakes, scientists used algorithms, statistics and computer models of fluid flow and seismic energy.

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