Arkansas Earthquakes Linked to Fracking? Two Gas Disposal Sites Suspended

Arkansas has been rocked with earthquakes and now scientists are investigating their relationship to earthquakes, as two natural gas companies have agreed to temporarily suspend use of injection wells in central Arkansas where earthquakes keep occurring. The high-pressure wells are used to dispose of waste water from natural gas drilling.

The two drilling operations are Chesapeake Energy and Clarita Operating. They have ceased operation of the wells near Greenbrier and Guy pending a panel meeting on the matter on March 29.

According to the Seattle Times:

The Arkansas Oil and Gas commission says there is likely a link between the wells and the earthquakes. There have been more than 800 quakes in the area in the past six months. with a magnitude 4.7 quake, the strongest in Arkansas in 35 years, hit there Sunday.

“I can’t go into detail at this time, but I can say that we believe there is a potential correlation between injection operations and earthquakes at one or both of those wells,” said Shane Khoury, deputy director and general counsel for the commission.

The area of  Arkansas that has been hit the most is less than 10 miles apart in northern Faulkner County.

Seismologists say the quakes are not connected to the New Madrid Fault, a historically active fault in northeast Arkansas, more than 200 miles away.

Gov. Mike Beebe said he supported the commission’s decision to take a close look at the injection wells. I’m going to listen to the scientists, and if the scientists say that it’s worth making some changes in the areas where they think changes should be made, then I’m going to listen to our scientists and support them,” Beebe told reporters at the state Capitol.

It is nice to see a politician who takes scientists seriously and supports them. Maybe more politicians should pay attention to Gov. Beebe’s example on getting scientific advise.

But, for now, we will have to wait and see what the scientists find out in their study on whether or not the fracking is causing the earthquakes. My guess is that fracking is causing them.

Read More: SeattleTimes

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