Weatherford Democrat

January 7, 2014

Railroad commission to hire seismologist

Commissioner Porter makes request following last week's Azle town hall


Weatherford Democrat

— AUSTIN – Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter on Tuesday instructed Executive Director Milton Rister to proceed with hiring a seismologist.

Porter said after last week's town hall meeting in Azle to discuss the area's recent earthquakes, “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. 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.”

An in-house seismologist will allow the commission to strengthen its ability to follow new research, as well as coordinate an exchange of factual, scientific information with the research community.

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.

• Develop recommendations and action plans.

The commission will immediately begin a comprehensive, nationwide search for the seismologist. The commission's website is www.rrc.state.tx.us.