Railroad commission searching for seismologist

By Brandon Evans | Published Wednesday, January 8, 2014
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In the wake of last week’s dramatic town hall meeting in Azle to discuss recent earthquakes in Wise, Tarrant and Parker counties, the Texas Railroad Commission announced Tuesday it will hire a seismologist.

“It is imperative that the Commission remain engaged and involved in gathering more evidence and data into any possible causation between oil and gas activities and seismic events,” said Railroad Commissioner David Porter in a press release. “Commission rules and regulations must be based on sound science and proven facts. In order to do so, I propose the Commission hire an in-house seismologist.”

Various studies have linked earthquakes to the use of deep injection wells that are used to dispose of waste fracking water. The RRC is the state agency charged with regulating those wells.

According to the release, “the seismologist’s duties will include coordinating with other academic experts studying seismic events in Texas; obtain, study and interpret various forms of data to evaluate seismic activity associated with known faults and historic and/or ongoing oil and gas exploration and production activities; lead efforts to conduct research as well as internally integrate oil and gas science with seismic science; coordinate communications and information gathering with stakeholders; review, analyze, interpret and comment on technical data from seismic data sources, computer models and digital maps; and develop recommendations and action plans.”

Last Thursday more than 800 concerned citizens from Wise, Parker and Tarrant counties attended the meeting held at Azle High School auditorium. Many said they’ve seen minor damage to their homes from the more than 30 earthquakes, ranging between 2.2 and 3.6 magnitude, that have struck the region over the past two months.

No earthquakes had been recorded before the recent rash.

Several speakers at the meeting called for a moratorium on the use of disposal wells in the area until more is known.

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