fracking

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A federal judge in Wyoming has struck down the Obama administration's regulations on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't have the authority to establish rules over fracking on federal and Indian lands.

In the ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl said Congress had not granted the BLM that power, and had instead chosen to specifically exclude fracking from federal oversight.

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

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.

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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.

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