Oklahoma Fracking: 680 Earthquakes in 2015

Oklahoma just had its 12th earthquake in one week! Among the recent quakes to hit the area was a 4.2 magnitude temblor on New Year’s Day that caused minor damage but no injuries. The state, notorious for their oil drilling and fracking activities, celebrated the end of 2015 with a whopping total of 680 earthquakes for the year.

As reported in The Huffington Post, “Oklahoma’s energy regulator declared in November that the state now has more earthquakes than anywhere else in the world, which scientists have linked to wastewater injections, a long-used method to dispose of the chemical-laced byproduct of oil and gas production.”

Oklahoma, Texas and other central states that drill and frack have all seen an increase in seismic activity in recent years. Interestingly, North Dakota, the second greatest oil producer after Oklahoma, has barely seen any increase in earthquakes. Scientists are unclear about why this should be, but suggest that either there is less wastewater injected into the ground in ND, or that the central states are sitting on top of an ancient fault line not present in the Dakotas.

Still, there are other problems. As reported on www.earthjustice.org, “In early 2015, three million gallons of fracking wastewater gushed from a leaking pipeline in western North Dakota. State officials have described it as the worst spill since the beginning of the state’s fracking boom. The wastewater is 10 times saltier than the ocean and contains ammonium and radioactive elements. The wastewater contaminated two creeks and eventually reached the Missouri River.”

New York is the only state so far to have successfully fought off legislation designed to allow fracking. The small town of Dryden, NY sued the state to ban fracking on a local level and, with the help of Earth Justice and celebrities such as Robert Redford, the case won nationwide attention and led to a statewide ban.

Photo credit: wikipedia.org

by Cheryl Shainmark