Saturday’s 5.8 earthquake in Oklahoma is a sobering reminder, a cautionary tale, that recent emergency attempts by the Oklahoma legislature, the governor, and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to resolve the problem may have failed.
The OCC provided key leadership in attempting to reduce the number and intensity of earthquakes in the state. According to scientists, these earthquakes are the direct result of injection wells that force wastewater back into the ground after the fracking process. Efforts to resolve this growing problem were initiated last fall and at first the data indicated that a reduction of wastewater in key injection wells was directly tied to what appeared to be a decline in the number and intensity of earthquakes.
Then came the 5.6 quake on Saturday, one of the biggest quakes to ever hit the region. Additional actions to resolve this problem have now been taken by the OCC. The real question is whether or not the earthquakes will subside and the surface damage will remain relatively minimal. No one knows at this point if this human made phenomena will become a disaster. Time will tell, but certainly every reasonable effort must continue to be made to avoid further surface damage.