June 06, 2015

Railroad Commission STILL in denial about #fracking and quakes

File this one under Anti-Intellectualism 101.

Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Ryan Sitton, along with some energy company execs, met Friday with representatives from SMU's geology staff, which, along with the U.S. Geological Survey, has been a leader in tying post-fracking wastewater injection to earthquakes.

And still refused to accept that conclusion:

“I have not reached the conclusion that oil and gas activity is the causal factor,” said Craig Pearson, the Railroad Commission’s staff seismologist. “While we remain concerned about seismic activity in the state, we still haven’t had a hearing where we’ve had a definite case made that a specific operator is associated with any specific earthquake activity.”
As for human-triggered quakes in other parts of Texas, he said: “I think it’s possible, but I don’t know of any proven nor widely accepted case of that. There has been anecdotal evidence in the past, but no substantial proof, to my knowledge.”


Even Oklahoma, possibly more wingnut than Texas, accepts that wastewater injection likely causes quakes:

In an April report, the USGS identified Azle and four other areas in Texas — Dallas-Fort Worth, Timpson, Fashing and the Cogdell oil field — as “induced seismicity zones,” another term for zones where man-made earthquakes are occurring.
That same month, the Oklahoma Geological Survey recognized that its surge of quakes was “very likely” triggered by the disposal of wastewater from oil and gas production into deep wells. Oklahoma has seen a 600-fold increase in its earthquake rate in the last several years, while Texas is on track to see a 20-fold increase, experts at the meeting said.
Note that last point.

And note that these Texas "induces seismicity zones" are in urban areas.

It's just like climate change denialism with folks like Pearson and Sitton. Say that "we need more data." Say that "it's not yet clear." Find some scientist, even if a 1-percenter denialist, who will shill for your point of view.

Then watch as cities like Denton get frustrated.

Then, when they act, tell them, no, we're going to retroactively change state law so you can't do that.

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