Arkansas sets example in responding to earthquake threats from fracking | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Arkansas sets example in responding to earthquake threats from fracking

Posted By on Sat, Apr 25, 2015 at 7:22 AM

click to enlarge UP AND DOWN: Earthquakes rose, then abruptly dropped after wastewater injection stopped in one area of the Fayetteville shale gas exploration zone. - GEOLOGIAL SURVEY
  • Geologial Survey
  • UP AND DOWN: Earthquakes rose, then abruptly dropped after wastewater injection stopped in one area of the Fayetteville shale gas exploration zone.
Credit where due for Arkansas. The New York Times Thursday reported on the U.S. Geological Survey's release of a comprehensive assessment of the link between earthquakes and oil and gas operations.

Arkansans have known for a long time of the correlation between fracking — particularly the waste injection wells that are a byproduct — and seismic activity. That might seem unremarkable. But it's not. The government of Oklahoma, which has had far worse earthquake activity, has just this week acknowledged there's some science behind the correlation of drilling and earth shaking.

Arkansas got a plug for good practices.

Asked about the report, Lawrence E. Bengal, director of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, also pointed to what his state had already done, after a surge in earthquakes north of Little Rock in 2010 that made the state second only to Oklahoma in induced quakes.

The commission imposed a moratorium “prohibiting the drilling of any new disposal wells in the area where the earthquake activity had occurred,” Mr. Bengal said, ordered the four active wells in the area plugged and ruled that seismic activity must be taken into account when allowing new disposal wells in other parts of the state.


More regulation can be done. That, of course, is controversial anywhere, particularly in states with political leaders opposed to government regulation. Hint hint.

Risks in certain areas and predicting future quakes aren't easy matters.

“Difficulties in assessing seismic hazard arise from a lack of relevant technical information on human industrial activity (that is, pumping data for injection wells),” the report said. However:

Mr. Petersen noted that wastewater disposal and related earthquakes “fluctuate year by year based on economic and policy decisions, which are very difficult to predict.” In fact, the report shows that in places where wastewater injection stopped, earthquake frequency fell to near zero — notably, in central Arkansas since 2011 and in an area north of Denver in the 1970s.

Tags: , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The suffering children's open line

    Until it's fixed, nobody is doing enough to resist the Trump administration's cruel and thoughtless handling of asylum-seeking children.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Arming teachers: An insurance complication

    Gun lovers in the Arkansas legislature are spoiling to put more guns in classrooms at the earliest opportunity. Today, the Washington Post reports a complication — from insurance companies.
    • May 27, 2018
  • Razorbacks plan a return to real grass in 2019

    I don't know why the news of a return to real grass at Razorback stadium seemed like such good news to me. Old fogey, I guess.
    • May 27, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation