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Legislator, geologist trying to create ‘emergency plan’ to address Oklahoma earthquakes

Fracking may cause earthquake in new study

OKLAHOMA CITY – A state legislator and a veteran petroleum geologist have teamed up and are now calling on others to create an emergency plan for Oklahoma earthquakes.

State Sen. Jerry Ellis and Bob Jackman are trying to form a federal task force, made up of representatives from the U.S. Geological Survey, Oklahoma Geological Survey, seismologists, geophysicists and hydrogeologists from Oklahoma’s petroleum industry.

The task force’s findings would also undergo an independent peer review by the National Academy of Sciences.

They say the task force would examine and evaluate all nationally published Earth science and ongoing studies related to earthquakes that have been rattling the Sooner State.

“An emergency exists in central Oklahoma, with its accelerated and unprecedented increase in frequency and magnitude of apparently man-made earthquakes,” said Jackman.

“We need to act, not react,” Ellis said. “We’d better not wait ‘til a high Richter-scale earthquake occurs, causing disastrous damages to homes, roads, bridges, schools and hospitals – as well as oil and gas well surface and subsurface casing and pumps.”

One possible source, they say, may be the number of injection wells across the state.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission reports that Oklahoma has approximately 12,000 injection wells, but many aren’t operated in any given year.

The most common are injection wells used in enhanced recovery, which seismologists do not consider a potential source of the earthquakes.

The other injection wells are disposal wells.

According to the Oklahoma Insurance Department, 15 percent of the homeowners in Oklahoma have secured earthquake insurance, which is a 500 percent increase from just three years ago.

According to Ellis, Oklahoma’s congressional delegation and governor “have done nothing to initiate any smart earthquake emergency action plans. We need to act before it’s too late.”