Early this morning one of the largest earthquakes to hit Oklahoma shook the ground, being felt from Nebraska to North Texas, and all due to oil and natural gas wastewater dumping.
At 7:02 this morning, the United States Geological Survey reported that a 5.2 magnitude earthquake occurred in north-central Oklahoma, a location notorious for seismic activity due to the massive amounts of wastewater that companies are dumping deep into the earth.
No immediate damage was reported. However, cracks in buildings nine miles from the epicenter were later discovered, and a man was hospitalized after having a chimney fall onto him while he was protecting his child.
After several larger earthquakes had occurred, early last fall, officials stepped in and established regulations that limited the amount of oil and fracking waste these businesses could continue to dump in this area. These laws don’t seem to have improved the situation much, and officials immediately ordered 35 wells within a 500-mile radius of the epicenter to be shut down within ten days.
Earthquakes in Oklahoma have become almost as common as they are in California. About a decade ago Kansas was facing the same problem but put up legislation to limit the amount that could be dumped, while Oklahoma focused on the depth. Kansas has enjoyed many years without constant seismic upsets, but Oklahoma continues to be rocked.
Whether companies will meet the ten-day deadline is still up in the air as Matt Skinner, a representative from the Oklahoma Corporate Commission explains.
“All of our actions have been based on the link that researchers have drawn between the Arbuckle disposal well operations and earthquakes in Oklahoma. We’re trying to do this as quickly as possible, but we have to follow the recommendations of the seismologists, who tell us everything going off at once can cause an (earthquake).”
Let’s just hope that this change will push other areas of the state and country to start putting up better legislation against fracking and oil contaminants before it is too late.
Watch initial news footage from CNN.
Featured Image Via CNN