Scientists: Fracking Is Not Causing North Texas Earthquakes
Wednesday, May 06, 2015
Scientists: Fracking Is Not Causing Earthquakes | By: Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller News Foundation | May 6, 2015
Earthquakes are on the rise in Oklahoma and Texas, and media reports have made sure to link hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations to quakes rocking parts of the country. But connecting fracking to earthquakes is frustrating scientists working on the issue.
“We’re not talking at all about fracking,” Dr. Matthew Hornback, a scientist at Southern Methodist University who recently released a study on quakes in North Texas, told Congress Tuesday.
“In fact, it’s been driving us crazy, frankly, that people keep using it in the press,” Hornback told lawmakers during a hearing.
Hornback and fellow SMU researchers found that wastewater injection wells, not fracking itself, are behind the rise in earthquakes in North Texas. Oil and gas companies take brine and other substances out of the ground when extracting fuels and then inject the waste from that process back into the ground.
The huge increase in oil and gas drilling has forced billions of wastewater underground in recent years. The EPA and states regulate the disposal of wastewater into underground wells — before 1985 companies could dispose of this water in state waterways.