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Fracking industry claims they are not to blame for rise in earthquakes

NORMAN, Okla. – A rise in earthquakes across the state has put the oil industry in the spotlight. Several environmental experts blame hydraulic fracking, but the fracking industry claims they’re doing nothing wrong.

A panel of experts are set to speak on the matter at a city council meeting in Norman, Monday at 7:00 p.m.

The meeting will take place in the Norman Public Library.

“Hydraulic fracturing is a process that’s been used in the oil field for over 65 years,” said Kim Hatfield, President of Crawley Petroleum.

Industries have been pumping highly pressurized water into the ground for decades. The process creates cracks in deeply embedded rock, creating an easier extraction process for natural resources.

But David Slottje, Executive Director for the Community Environmental Defense Council, says the fracking game has changed.

“This is not your grandmother’s well that we’re talking about,” said Slottje. “The fracking that takes place now takes place using anywhere from five, to eight million gallons of water, per frack, per well.”

That water is later disposed of in waste injection wells. Those wells have raised concerns across the nation, ranging from water contamination to causing an increase in earthquakes.

“We’ve been doing disposal of salt water underground for over 80 years,” said Hatfield. “So we have a pretty good track record of being able to do this safely.”

“Until the citizens who believe they are being harmed by this technology can prove it’s harmful, they believe they should be able to do what they’re doing,” said Slottje.

Monday night’s meeting hopes to ‘clear the water’ on the fracking process.

“So you have this side saying it’s safe, this side saying it’s not,” said Cynthia Rogers, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, and partial organizer of tonight’s meeting. “I feel like we can educate people, then we can know what is the truth.”

For those who’d like to participate, showing up before 7:00 p.m. is urged as the library only holds 275 people.

Rogers expects a packed house.