Since 2008, there has been a significant increase in Oklahoma earthquakes. This year alone, we have had around 60 quakes with magnitudes of 2.0 or greater, according to Time.com’s Denver Nicks.
“In 2009 there were 49. In 2010 there were 180. In 2013 there were 291, and so far in 2014, there have been 59-plus and counting,” Nicks reported.
Nicks said earthquake monitor EQ charts show there were between 0 and 11 earthquakes of 2.0 magnitudes or greater in Oklahoma every year between 1990 and 2008.
With the quakes increasing since 2008 and becoming more frequent than ever, I am concerned for Oklahoma’s safety.
There is significant evidence pointing to the correlation between fracking and the increase in earthquakes.
Fracking is “the the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.”
That’s exactly what Oklahomans should be worried about.
The water-injecting methods are reasonably questionable when it comes to the sudden increase in earthquakes.
“Researchers believe that the earthquakes are caused by overpressuring a fault system,” according to a study by Scott Kaufman from rawstory.com.
“Injecting too much waste-water into the ground causes tectonically stable areas to slip, resulting not only in a single earthquake, but a redistribution of pressures along the entire fault system… .”
As history shows, fracking has been a common method for obtaining shale oil by gas companies in Oklahoma for many years.
“The oil and gas production practice [fracking] describes were benign entries in the driller’s dictionary for at least 65 years — with origins reaching even farther back to the petroleum industry’s birth,” according to asme.org.
Essentially, America has been running on oil and gas for a long time and it seems this trend will continue until we someday run out of our limited resources, i.e. fossil fuels, which are gathered in our backyards in Oklahoma.
With Oklahoma being a prosperous land of oil, more than 82,000 Oklahomans are directly employed by oil and natural gas industries, according to oerb.com. More than 344,500 Oklahoma jobs are supported directly or indirectly by the oil and natural gas industry. Because of that, there may be a tendency to deny the possible connection between fracking and the increase in earthquakes.
Oklahoma also economically depends on oil and gas revenue. A 2013 State Impact NPR report shows Oklahoma collected an all-time high tax revenue of $11.3 billion — most of that coming from oil and gas.
It’s time we look at the long-term damage to the state and put that ahead of the financial gains.
The Environmental Protection Agency already has taken steps to regulate the chemicals used for fracking, according to epa.gov.
With the EPA taking initiative to regulate fracking procedures, we can only hope they will also help create safer alternatives and better solutions for oil and gas collection.