Is Fracking Making The Earth Move For Californians?

frackign & Water Watch

The recent earthquakes in Los Angeles and Orange County are a rude wake-up call about the induced seismic dangers facing California, according the the Center for Biological Diversity.

A recent report by Earthworks, the Center for Biological Diversity and Clean Water Action found that the oil industry is increasing quake risks by injecting billions of gallons wastewater every year from fracking into disposal wells near active faults around LA and other major cities.

According to the On Shaky Ground: Fracking, Acidizing, and Increased Earthquake Risk in California report, Los Angeles County has more than 800 oil-industry wastewater wells near recently-active faults across California.

fracking & Water Watch

Scientists have concluded that the injection of oil and gas wastewater can reduce the natural friction that pins faults in place, which triggers earthquakes. There is even US Geological Survey evidence that oil industry wastewater disposal could have induced a 2011 quake in Oklahoma that injured people and destroyed more than a dozen homes.

“California oil regulators don’t even require seismic monitoring near wastewater wells, which makes it difficult to tie specific quakes to fracking wastewater injection,” said report co-author Dr Shaye Wolf of the Center for Biological Diversity. “But other states have suffered dramatic increases in quake activity, and California is clearly at risk from these dangerous disposal wells.” 

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Earthworks’ Oil and Gas Accountability Project California organizer Jhon Arbelaez added: “This isn’t rocket science. We’ve known for decades that wastewater injection increases earthquake risk.

“Our only option to protect California families is to prevent fracking altogether.”

fracking & Water Watch

Fracking Info From The Center For Biological Diversity:

  • 54 percent of California’s active wastewater wells are within 10 miles of a recently active fault;
  • California oil regulators require no seismic monitoring near wastewater injection wells, and state officials have not examined whether past earthquakes were triggered by fracking or disposal wells;
  • Other states where fracking and underground wastewater disposal have proliferated have suffered as much as a tenfold increase in quake activity;
  • Extracting the oil in California’s Monterey Shale formation could produce almost 9 trillion gallons of contaminated wastewater, which could expose the state to a surge in damaging earthquakes like those seen in Oklahoma, Texas and other states experiencing rapidly increased fracking and wastewater production; and
  • Given the earthquake risk linked to wastewater disposal, as well as unconventional oil production’s other environmental and health risks, the best way to protect Californians is to halt hydraulic fracturing, acidizing and other dangerous oil and gas recovery techniques.