Monday, March 17, 2014

Earthquakes continue to increase in areas with fracking; state officials refuse to make connection

Last week a hydraulic fracturing operation outside Youngstown, Ohio, was shut down on the same day a series of earthquakes were reported in an area with no history of seismic activity. Officials said the closure had nothing to do with fracking, but that flew in the face of the facts: An area with no recorded earthquakes prior to 2011 had more than 100 from January 2011 to February 2012, when fracking came to the area.

The Youngstown area isn't alone in Ohio. According to data from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, from 1950 to 2009 the state averaged two 2.0 magnitude or greater earthquakes per year, but since then has averaged nine per year, Will Drabold reports for the Columbus Dispatch. Nationwide, the number of earthquakes 3.0 or higher increased from 21 from 1967 to 2000 to 100 from 2010 to 2012. (Dispatch graphic; click on it for a larger version)

Scientists continue to point the finger at fracking, but state officials refuse to concede any connection. "Following the 2011 earthquakes near Youngstown, researchers found that a fracking-waste injection well linked to them had been drilled on an ancient fault line," Drabold writes. "The fracking waste that was pumped more than 9,000 feet below the surface triggered the earthquakes, said Won Young-Kim, a senior scientist who runs a regional earthquake-monitoring network at Columbia University in New York." But Tom Stewart, with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association, said it's too early to make that link. He told Drabold, “At this stage, good scientific analysis is crucial to the process." (Read more)

No comments: