The Earth Moved in Oklahoma

The Earth Moved in Oklahoma

The selection that I have posted at the bottom of this page is from the Guardian and it tells of a 4.2 magnitude earthquake is almost certainly related to the practice of fracking in that state.

This is a business ethics issue. In the past, companies have polluted severely damaging the water, the air and often the top soil. But this is new. We have companies whose disposal of fracking waste water by injecting it deep into the earth is undermining the stability of the land itself.

It’s a new kind of pollution. What do you even call it? – Foundational pollution? Instability pollution? Deep earth interference? Or maybe – earthquake enabling? That large bodies of water could cause earthquakes has been known for some time. The mental leap from the idea that moving water into a man-made reservoir could destabilize fault lines to the idea that directly injecting fracking waste water deep into the earth could cause similar instability is not big.

I have a strong suspicion that the risks were already understood back at the beginning of the Bush administration when Dick Cheney’s energy task force created a package of protective laws for the fracking industry many of which simply prevented the collection of information.

Should energy companies be liable for damages caused by earthquakes which result from the injection of waste water into known fault lines? That’s a good question that I am sure will be before the courts in the next decade. I am so confident of this that I am also confident that ALEC will have legislation preventing these kinds of lawsuits up on state legislative agendas before the end of 2017.

Inflicting earthquakes upon citizens of this country is wrong. It’s understandable if there was no perceivable risk but this is hardly likely to be the case since finding an oil company without highly reputable geologists is highly unlikely.

It appears to me that this problem is easily solvable. We do not allow the industry to inject waste water near known fault lines and to stop injecting should evidence of a fault line develop.

We have discovered how to play havoc with the pillars of the earth. Could anything be more arrogant than this Frankenstein like willingness to play God?

James Pilant

A 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck north Oklahoma City early on New Year’s Day, the latest in a series of temblors in the area in recent days that has prompted state regulators to call for more restrictions on oil and gas operators.

No injuries and only minor damage were reported with the quake, which struck at 5.39am on Friday near Edmond, about 16 miles north-east of Oklahoma City, according to the US Geological Survey.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission issued a statement on Friday saying its Oil and Gas Division staff were taking action in response to the earthquakes in Edmond and that details should be available on Monday.

“The issue is extremely complex, as the initial review of the data for the area in question has not identified any oil and gas wastewater disposal wells that are both high volume and in the state’s deepest formation, a combination that researchers have identified as being at the highest risk for inducing earthquakes,” the commission release stated.

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