Time to STOP FRACKING!
LAT: Ohio geologists have found a probable connection between fracking and a sudden burst of mild earthquakes last month in a region that had never experienced a temblor until recently, according to a state report.
The quake report, which coincided with the state’s announcement of some of the nation’s strictest limits on fracking near faults, marked the strongest link to date between nerve-rattling shakes and hydraulic fracturing — the process of firing water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to eject oil and natural gas out of ancient rock.
Last month, Ohio indefinitely shut down Hilcorp Energy’s fracking operation near the Pennsylvania border after five earthquakes, including one magnitude-3 temblor that awoke many Ohioans from their sleep.
Federal scientists have previously linked earthquakes in part to the use of injection wells, where post-fracking waste water is forced back deep into the earth for storage. None of the seven wells near the Ohio temblors were used for waste disposal, leaving Ohio scientists to go a step further to find a significant relationship between the initial blast of fluid and the earthquakes shortly after.
They “believe the sand and water injected into the well during the hydraulic fracturing process may have increased pressure on an unknown microfault in the area,” the Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in a statement about the Poland, Ohio, operation.
The new rules require companies to install “sensitive seismic monitors” before beginning to drill sideways into underground rock “within 3 miles of a known fault or area of seismic activity greater than a 2.0 magnitude.” Humans can generally feel earthquakes in excess of magnitude 3.
Drilling would be suspended pending investigation whenever the monitors detect anything above magnitude 1.