Oklahoma Corporation Commission develops new protocol to prevent earthquakes

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Earthquakes rocking the state is nothing new, but some new data is.

“In 2016, we began seeing quakes that could not be linked to wastewater disposal, which is still considered the main cause of earthquakes in Oklahoma," said Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Disposal wells have their own regulations, but now fracking operations have some new rules. In 2016, the OCC set the seismic threshold for fracking at magnitude 2.5. After new data came in linking fracking to quakes, that threshold was reduced to 2.0.

“The earlier the operator takes action, the less of a chance of a larger earthquake event down the line," said Skinner.

Operators will have to install new meters to measure seismic activity and be required to shut down if the project exceeds the threshold.

But what impact will that have on Oklahoma's economy - a state that relies heavily on oil.

“No, not at all. I think it it’s probably the opposite," said Chad Warmington, president of the Oklahoma Oil and Gas Association. "I think that if Oklahomans were to see a significant rise in earthquakes, that could put a hinder on more oil and gas production.”

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