Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ohio confirms “probable connection” between fracking and earthquakes

From:  Salon

State regulators announced stricter rules to help prevent future quakes 

When Russell Gold, the senior energy reporter for the Wall Street Journal, spoke with Salon about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, he emphasized that one of the biggest problems is the speed at which the industry is moving — drilling almost 100 wells per day, and leaving little time to assess the potential impact of their activity. Often, it’s only long after something bad has happened — methane is leaked into the atmosphere, or local air and water is polluted — that regulators (sometimes) push for more caution.

Case in point: last month, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources temporarily suspended drilling at a number of wells in the northeastern part of the state out of concern that it may have been responsible for a series of earthquakes.

Friday, geologists confirmed that yes, fracking was probably responsible. “ODNR geologists believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown micro-fault in the area,” they said in a release, leading to the 11 minor quakes experienced in March.

This is a big deal, marking the first time exploration of the Marcellus shale, which reaches from Ohio and West Virginia into Pennsylvania and New York, has been linked with seismic activity, according to a seismologist with the U.S. Department of Interior.  MORE



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