Environmental Group Pushes to Stop Oil, Gas Leases in Oklahoma After Sunday Earthquake

The Center for Biological Diversity is proposing that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) withdraw 11 proposed oil and gas leases in Oklahoma after another alleged human-induced earthquake rocked the state on Sunday.

The Center for Biological Diversity claimed Monday that fracking and wastewater injection are posing risks to people and property and should not be allowed to continue. However, the BLM continues to refuse to analyze the potential impacts its oil and gas lease approvals are making on people’s safety, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Sunday’s earthquake was the third quake at 5.0 magnitude or more in Oklahoma this year, with there being more than 20 earthquakes that shook the state in the past week, according to an Associated Press report.

Studies have linked the increase in earthquakes in the area to human activity like fracking and wastewater injection, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study.


Oklahoma State Regulators Consider New Restrictions After Earthquake

Another earthquake shook Oklahoma Tuesday night, causing state regulators to consider new restrictions on some oil and gas activity in order to prevent more quakes caused by underground disposal of wastewater from production.

The 4.5 magnitude earthquake struck Pawnee, Oklahoma and was reported to have also been felt in parts of Kansas and Missouri. Tuesday’s earthquake comes just two months after the record-setting 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the state in the same area.

Scientists have linked the increase of earthquakes in Oklahoma to the underground disposal of waste water from oil and gas production. As a result, the corporation commission has already begun shutting down some disposal wells while ordering a decrease in the amount of wastewater disposed in other wells.


Backlash of Fracking in Oklahoma After Record Quake Could Slow Shale Play Development

Crop of Oklahoma Earthquake, September 3, 2016 ( USGS )

Crop of Oklahoma Earthquake, September 3, 2016 (USGS)

A record-tying earthquake that shook Oklahoma and was felt in six other states on Saturday may bring more backlash against hydraulic fracturing, which could possibly slow down development of some U.S. shale plays.

The 5.6-magnitude tremor was felt from Texas all the way to Illinois, tying with a record in 2011. Last year, 890 earthquakes were recorded as 3.0 or higher, a significant increase from a 2008 recording of only two earthquakes at 3.0 or higher, which occurred before the state’s fracking boom.

With an oil production increase in Oklahoma came an increase in wastewater disposal wells. As drilling companies use fracking methods to break up rock and extract oil, large quantities of wastewater are produced as a result. Drilling companies then inject the water into deep wastewater wells.

Many earthquakes in the state have been triggered by wastewater injection, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has been issuing restrictions over the last year to reduce the amount of wastewater injected into wells.

The weekend earthquake led the commission to suspend 37 wells in the state.

President of Strategic Energy and Economic Research in Winchester, Massachusetts Michael Lynch said: “[Oklahoma is] going to push the industry to come up with some permanent solutions. It’s hard to believe Oklahoma would ban fracking, but I can see where they would say to people that they have to do something else with the wastewater, which is believed to be the source of the increase in earthquakes,” according to Bloomberg.