Weatherford Democrat

Aledo ExtrA

December 16, 2013

RRC commish says there will be local quake discussion

By CHRISTIN COYNE

The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry in Texas and has been asked by local officials to look into whether oil and gas activity may be behind the recent swarm of earthquakes in the Parker County area, may soon ask an outside entity to study the issue.

RRC Chairman Barry Smitherman, campaigning in Weatherford Thursday for the position of Texas Attorney General, told the Democrat he was aware of the recent earthquakes in the Parker County area.

Twenty-six earthquakes have shaken North Texas since Nov. 1, including 21 in the area of Azle and Reno and three north of Mineral Wells. The earthquakes have ranged in magnitude from 2.2 to 3.7, with the latest occurring Tuesday morning.

“We’ve asked our staff to take a look at that, and they’re embarking upon that right now,” Smitherman said. “I think what we’re going to do is in the near future we’re going to have a town hall meeting here and we’ll gather more evidence and have people share their experiences with us and then we’ll probably ask, say the University of Texas’ Bureau of Economic Geology or someone else qualified and experienced, to do a study of the issue.”

“But it is something we are aware of and want to take a good look at,” Smitherman said.

At the request of Parker County commissioners, Parker County Judge Mark Riley sent a letter last week to the RRC requesting the state look into any possible connection between the earthquakes and injection wells and provide the county and general public with any information they obtain.

Southern Methodist University in Dallas is also attempting to collect better data and study the issue. The university announced this week that they are placing a variety of seismic monitoring equipment from the U.S. Geological Survey and Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology and other sources around Azle and Reno to get a better handle on where the earthquakes are occurring.

If the earthquakes are occurring near injection wells, they plan to study that potential link, according to the head of the research team.  

A group of SMU and University of Texas at Austin researchers have produced two studies since 2009 indicating a possible link between the outbreaks of small earthquakes in North Texas’ Barnett Shale area since 2008 and some injection wells used to dispose of oil and gas drilling waste.

Though the USGS says studies suggest that the actual hydraulic fracturing process is rarely the direct cause of felt earthquakes, U.S. geologists say activities that have induced felt earthquakes in some geologic environments have included impoundment of water behind dams, injection of fluid into the earth’s crust, extraction of fluid or gas, and removal of rock in mining or quarrying operations.

In the south-central states of the U.S., a significant majority of recent earthquakes are thought by many seismologists to have been human-induced, according to a statement posted on the USGS website below information on the recent local earthquakes.

According to the USGS, wastewater disposal appeared to have induced the 5.6-magnitude earthquake in central Oklahoma in 2011 that damaged more than a dozen homes.

The average number of magnitude-3.0 or larger earthquakes that occurred each year from 1975 to 2008 in the Oklahoma City region was one to three, according to the team of U.S. geologists studying the issue. However, since 2009, that average has grown to around 40 earthquakes per year.

State geologists, however, disagreed. The Oklahoma Geological Survey laid out reasons they believe the earthquakes were due to natural causes.

State Rep. Phil King told the Mineral Wells Index that he was skeptical that oil and gas activity may be prompting the earthquakes.

Concerned that the environmental community would try to use the issue to shut down oil and gas production in North Texas, King said he is insistent that there be definitive scientific evidence, rather than just correlations and rhetoric.

 

1
Text Only
Aledo ExtrA
  • Buchanan to step down as AISD head football coach

    Aledo ISD has announced a restructuring of the athletic department for the 2014 school year. At his request, Coach Tim Buchanan will become the fulltime athletic director so he may focus on the entire athletic program of the district as it continues to grow.

    July 31, 2014

  • Splash Kingdom suspect Water park burglar sought

    Hudson Oaks police are requesting the public’s assistance in catching a burglar who broke into Splash Kingdom Water Park in Hudson Oaks earlier this month. 

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Commissioner at odds with school district's demand for land

    Aledo ISD superintendent Derek Citty is moving forward with plans backed by the school board in May — plans to secure two school sites in the Morningstar subdivision, slated for the corner of Old Weatherford Road and FM Road 3225 in the City of Fort Worth’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729 better coach tattoo.jpg An unforgettable state championship

    Corey Kiser and Riley Sartain, members of Aledo High School’s state champion softball team, honored by trustees last week, are to blame for the 10-3 tattoo on the finger of their coach, Jeff Lemons.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Firefighter arrested for child sexual assault

    A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period.
    Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested July 21, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.

    July 29, 2014

  • Fire protection improving in Aledo

    Stephen Watson, interim chief of Emergency Services District No. 1, briefed the Aledo City Council on improvements to the city’s fire protection — including the purchase of a site for a new fire station — in Thursday night’s Aledo City Council session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Aledo ISD trustees affirm hiring policy

    The Aledo ISD School Board affirmed a policy delegating the hiring of most school personnel to the administration by a 4-1 margin last week, with trustees Jay Stringer, David Tillman, Hoyt Harris and Steve Bartley voting in favor and trustee Bobby Rigues arguing that the board should retain the responsibility.

    July 29, 2014

  • Aledo coffee shop helps support the troops

    HUDSON OAKS — Wild West Splash Kingdom was the host of military members and military supporters the night of Saturday, July 19, during ‘Salute the Troops,’ sponsored by Holy Grounds Coffee and Gifts in Aledo and Ducerus College Planning.

    July 29, 2014

  • Calendar of events

    Aug 2-23
    Movies!

    Holy Grounds Coffee & Gifts, at 108 Jearl Street, is hosting a series of outdoor movies in their parking lot at 8:30 p.m. on Saturdays through Aug. 23.
    Admission is free and feature drinks are half price during the films. “The Amazing Spiderman” is  Aug. 2, followed by “Tangled” on Aug. 9, “The Lego Movie” on Aug. 16 and “The Avengers” on Aug. 23.
    For more information, call 817-440-7770.

    July 29, 2014

  • 0729 one purple heart group.jpg A Purple Heart County

    County Judge Mark Riley and Parker County commissioners proclaimed Parker County to be a “Purple Heart County” Monday, honoring local veterans and their families in a special ceremony held in the second floor courtroom of the historic courthouse. 

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
House Ads
Top News
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN