The state of Oklahoma is now the earthquake capital of the world — with the frequency and severity of earthquakes spiking due to the oil and gas industry’s practice of injecting fracking and drilling wastewater underground at high pressure.
The number of earthquakes in Oklahoma has jumped more than 300 fold since 2009, from a maximum of 167-per-year before 2009 to a total of 5,838 recorded earthquakes in 2015.
Meanwhile, during the same period the total volume of wastewater injected in the state rose from 2 billion barrels in 2009, to more than 12 billion barrels in 2014.
The Oklahoma Geological Survey now states that “the majority of recent earthquakes in central and north-central Oklahoma are very likely triggered by the injection of produced water in disposal wells,” and “seismologists have documented the relationship between wastewater disposal and triggered seismic activity.”
After one of the strongest earthquakes ever (magnitude 5.6) struck Oklahoma on Sept. 3, 2016, state regulators ordered all wastewater injection wells temporarily shut down within a 725-square-mile radius of the quake’s epicenter, near Pawnee.
This was the correct response to an historic wastewater injection-induced earthquake — but this trend could not be any clearer or more alarming, and calls for an immediate statewide moratorium on disposal wells injecting wastewater from oil and gas drilling operations.
Bold Oklahoma’s ultimate goal is to to organize and pass moratoriums by all 39 Sovereign Nations in Oklahoma banning fracking and injection wells on all Tribal lands.
Moratoriums banning fracking and injection wells on all original Tribal jurisdiction will enable the Tribes to protect not only their lands, but the lands of adjacent farming and ranching communities as well.
Support from all Oklahomans is needed to stop wastewater injection and the earthquakes that threaten our communities.
Bold Oklahoma also supports Sierra Club’s lawsuit targeting three of the largest wastewater injection well operators in the state of Oklahoma — Chesapeake, Devon and New Dominion — that demands the companies reduce their wastewater injection and institute greater safety measures aimed at stopping the related earthquakes.