Wednesday, April 16, 2014

As Fracking-Quake Link Becomes Clearer, Ohio Requires Stricter Seismic Monitoring

In the context of increased seismic activity, Ohio is citing fracking as the "probable" cause for several earthquakes in March, 2014. This is all the more reason to have regulations against fracking. From ThinkProgress:

As Fracking-Quake Link Becomes Clearer, Ohio Requires Stricter Seismic Monitoring


Fracking was the “probable” cause of a series of small earthquakes that shook northeast Ohio last month, state officials announced on Friday. This is the first time gas drilling in Ohio and local quakes have been linked. Previous studies have only found connections between the underground injection of fracking wastewater and tremors.
In March, Houston-based Hilcorp Energy was ordered to halt work at seven wells in Poland Township, near the Pennsylvania border after two small earthquakes, 3.0 and 2.6, rattled nearby residents. With no wastewater injection sites nearby, investigators focused on whether fracking itself had caused the ground to shake, and they now believe it did.
The news came as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources released strict new guidelines for monitoring seismic activity in the state.
The rules will require companies to install seismic monitors before beginning to drill within three miles of a known fault or in an area that has experienced seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude. If seismic monitors detect a quake of 1.0 or more, regulators will suspend fracking and investigate whether drilling is connected to the quake. Humans can generally feel earthquakes of magnitude 3 and above.
A recent article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out that the threshold for halting drilling operations was low enough, at magnitude 1, that the Seattle Seahawks Fans might jeopardize drilling. At the NFL playoffs, 67,000 football fans at CenturyLink Field managed to create just such a tiny quake by stamping their feet. This talking point has already been adopted by those who oppose the new rules.
[Go to the original ThinkProgress article for continuation of the story.]

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