Monday’s second public meeting in Azle on the recent spate of earthquakes in this area was quite different from the Jan. 2 meeting called by Texas Railroad Commission member David Porter.
That meeting, designed to let the public air their concerns, resulted in the TRC creating a spot on its staff for a seismologist.
Monday’s meeting, called by various activist groups that work to oppose oil and gas drilling, fracking, pipelines and injection wells, motivated several people to sign up for a Jan. 21 bus trip to Austin.
The group will attend a hearing of the agency that is charged with regulating oil and gas drilling in Texas. They hope to give testimony, specifically on injection wells, the suspected cause of the recent rash of earthquakes that have rattled northwest Tarrant, northeast Parker and south Wise counties.
Prior to last weekend, 30 earthquakes had been registered in the area since the tremors began in early November. After several weeks of calm, the area experienced two more quakes recently – including a 2.2 magnitude shake Saturday afternoon and another registering 3.3 Monday morning.
The Monday tremor came just hours before the meeting in Azle, which drew about 300 residents – well below the 800 who attended the Jan. 2 meeting.
The gathering was organized by Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, North Central Texas Communities Alliance and FracDallas. Sharon Wilson of Washington D.C.-based EARTHWORKS acted as emcee and made a presentation. Calvin Tillman, former mayor of Dish, also spoke.
Wilson described her organization as a national non-profit that works to try to lessen the harm done to people by energy and mineral extraction.
She noted that by the TRC’s own estimates, 9.1 billion gallons of water are injected into waste disposal wells each month in Texas.
Gary Hogan with North Central Texas Communities Alliance expressed his concern that earthquakes could fracture well casings and lead to methane and other drilling chemicals contaminating groundwater.
Marc McCord, director of FracDallas, had harsh words for State Rep. Phil King, who he said accepted substantial contributions from the oil and gas industry and voted with that industry “100 percent of the time.”
Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders At Risk recruited people to sign up as members of a “steering committee” to take action at the local level, while others signed up to take the bus next Tuesday.
Carla Noah Stutsman of the Azle News provided much of the material for this story.