Earthquakes: King’s lack of concern is documented

By Tracy Smith | Published Wednesday, January 22, 2014
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I have been informed that Phil King, because of his service to the oil and gas industry on the Energy Resources Committee, has been named to the new subcommittee to investigate the plague of earthquakes affecting Wise, Parker and Tarrant Counties.

One can’t help but wonder, why him? He failed the people of his district once already. How can he be trusted to be a champion to them now?

In February of 2013, Rep. King was a guest panel member, along with State Senators Rodney Ellis and Carlos Uresti and State Rep. Van Taylor, on a discussion forum titled “Drilling Down: The Fracking Boom and the Texas Legislature” that was sponsored by StateImpact Texas (an NPR program).

This program was held in Austin, well outside Mr. King’s district. On the event Facebook page this symposium was described as “…a conversation with several state lawmakers to examine the Texas oil and gas boom. We’ll talk about how it has impacted different parts of the state and what role lawmakers could play in this rapid increase in drilling.” (wcmess.com/y)

In a video posted of the event (wcmess.com/e) Phil King was caught saying some shocking things when asked about earthquakes and industry-related practices such as fracking and deep well disposal.

After he corrected the moderator that they weren’t earthquakes but rather seismic activities, he said, “The good news is nobody’s felt it, there hasn’t been any damage we have some time to kind of look at it.”

Then after a jab from another panel member about the seismic activity/earthquake definition which King just made, king said, “If you’re getting a (oil and gas) royalty check, its probably ‘seismic activity.’ I take that to mean campaign contributions as well, don’t you? After a semantic debate of the meaning over the two words, it was later confirmed by a reputable geologist that the two words were synonymous in this context.

In addition, Mr. King was informed that decades ago, researchers even found they could turn earthquakes on and off by injecting liquid into the ground, with information provided by Dr. William Ellsworth with the Earthquake Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey.

To make matters worse, the Texas Railroad Commission was aware of this study as well. The StateImpact filed an open records request for all emails pertaining to the earthquakes and received over 100 emails as a response where they accept what scientists and oilmen have known for many years – that the earthquakes and injection wells are related.

These emails even show staff members in communication with EPA researchers over certain quakes in the DFW area. The messages also include forwards of media reporting on earthquakes and notes of concern from Texas citizens. To reiterate, all of this thoroughly researched information was presented to Mr. King on the above mentioned February 2013 night.

Bottom line is that our state representative, Phil King, was warned almost a year before the Azle/Boyd area earthquakes that started in October and November of 2013, that the fracking process and injection wells did indeed cause earthquakes. Mr. King let a year go by, including a legislative session where he was on the Energy Resources Committee and could have put forth a bill for stronger regulation of injection wells.

He let his own people live with a ticking time bomb. Now he’s in reactive mode that will take at least another year before he will begin to give answers to his constituents. What answers will they be?

We, victims, here in North Texas are counting on some “people” results. Is Phil King the guy who will look into the eyes of our affected men, women, children and elderly – living with anguish and hopelessness while begging for answers and assurances that they won’t lose all that they have – and say “I understand and I’m on your side?”

Will he be the leader for us that will take a moment of his time to feel our fear? I think not. For me, he’s already proven himself.

Tracy Smith

3 Responses to “Earthquakes: King’s lack of concern is documented”

  1. Rusty White says:

    REALLY??? If anybody thinks this career parasite is not in bed with the oil and gas money, you deserve the BS your going to get, IMHO!!!

    About 4 years back I had to drill another well due to the drought we have been experiencing, Now we can’t drink the water because of the salt water in it! There were no known natural salt water zone in wise county less than 500 feet down “BEFORE” we started drilling for oil and gas! so I guess this contamination is somebody else’s fault right? Surely it could not have anything to do with “years” of poor drilling,cementing and casing practices or injection wells or spills, RIGHT???

  2. Jim Popp says:

    As a Republican Conservative, and a Wise County citizen who fought the Railroad Commission and O&G over the permitting of a Commercial Injection Well near my home for years, I can tell you that Phil King being on this committee will be a prime example for all to see openly of that old preverbial saying, ” The fox guarding the henhouse”. Hopefully, he will at least make an effort to look like he’s on the citizens side and not just send them a letter like he sent to me and my group of neighbors stating that, “He has full confidence that the Railroad Commission will do the right thing”. I’m paraphrasing there, but you know what I mean. Of course in our first hearing before the RRC, we proved that the RRC didn’t really know what was going on because there had been false statements made on the permit application we were fighting and the RRC themselves never checked it out ahead of time. I feel sorry for our neighbors in Boyd and Azel if they believe this man is honestly going to try and help them get to the truth on these earthquakes being caused by injection wells. In my opinion and in my experience with Mr.King, his allegiance is to O&G. Of course, this is just my opinion.

  3. One thing both Conservative and Liberal can agree one. In a functioning Government that puts the interest of the people ahead of the largest campaign contributors and their special interest the public will be served. But it is very apparent that Phil King is already bought and paid for the O&G industry and no longer serves the people that he represents. First he denied this problem existed then he now is ignoring the outcries of his fellow citizens. This problem is already cost many people thousands in repairs and will in the future. One also has to wonder where else will the citizens of Parker and Wise County face similar problems in the future. Why is it always the burden of the people to prove the damage is caused by the companies instead the companies proving they did not cause the damage? It’s this way account some people forget who they represent and sell out and take verbatim the laws the companies want protecting their profits able all else.


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