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Advocates to hold earthquake meeting in Azle

By Brandon Evans | Published Saturday, January 11, 2014

Organizers of a Monday night meeting in Azle are intent on shaking things up in Austin.

Members of several environmental groups have scheduled a meeting 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, at Azle Community Center at 404 W. Main St. It’s a follow-up to a Jan. 2 meeting held by the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) to address a rash of possible man-made earthquakes. More than 800 people attended that meeting, and many left frustrated due to the Commission’s lack of answers.

“… one of the speakers said he felt like he needed to make the ground shake in Austin to get results,” said Sharon Wilson, an organizer with Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project. “We agree, and we want to help the people there plan and organize so their voice can be heard. We’ll give them information on how they can weigh in down in Austin.

“We can’t answer all their questions, but we all have a lot of experience dealing with similar situations,” she said.

Calvin Tillman, former mayor of DISH, Gary Hogan with North Central Texas Communities Alliance and Marc McCord of FracDallas will join Wilson on the panel.

“We know what it’s like to go through the disruption of lives and devaluation of property by the oil and gas industry,” Wilson said.

Several studies have linked the use of injection wells to a series of earthquakes that have rocked parts of Tarrant, Parker and Wise counties recently. In response, the RRC, which regulates injection wells in Texas, announced last week their intent to hire a seismologist to further investigate the issue.

“It’s a really tough issue because wastewater from hydraulic fracturing is 50 to 100 times more than you get other types of drilling,” Wilson said. “If we keep drilling into the shale, that waste has to be dealt with in some way. It’s the reality. The solid waste (from fracking) is put on land farms and not regulated. And the liquid waste goes into injection wells. There has to be some way to deal with it … But as far as action, we need better policy in Austin, and we need to stop the injection wells in the area.”

It’s suspected that the volume of fluid going into area injection wells has already slowed because no quakes have been recorded since late December. More than 30 quakes shook the region in the last two months of 2013.

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