Weatherford Democrat

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January 21, 2014

Reno mayor: ‘Shut these wells down’

Azle-area residents go to Austin, ask Railroad Commission to shut down injection wells pending study

(Continued)

“This is not the first time it’s happened in Texas, so I don’t know why you haven’t already started studies,” Hobbs said, referencing earthquake swarms in the Cleburne area and other locations several years ago. “So now you would know and we wouldn’t have to go through this.”

Many concerned residents, including Darrell Hoffman, who played a rewritten version of Elvis’ “All Shook Up” on his guitar, spoke for about two hours.

Earthworks, the group calling for more regulation of the oil and gas industry that organized the bus trip, reported 50 residents were transported to the capital to talk to regulators and law makers.

“We’re in the process right now of looking for a seismologist and after we are able to get that expert on board, they are going to work with John [a geologist] and our other geologists and engineers who are familiar with the geology and the technology that is associated with the disposal wells and look at all the possible causes of the tremors in the given area,” Texas Railroad Commission Executive Milton Rister said. “As John mentioned, this is an area with a lot of karsts in it, which is an interesting geological formation. There are other things going on there. We’re been experiencing an extreme drought in the State of Texas. I don’t know whether that plays a part. I think that needs to be examined. The size of the lake has been greatly reduced. Lakes do have an impact on seismic activity. Groundwater, when you are in a drought you also pump a lot more water out of the ground. These are a lot of things that need to be examined in conjunction, obviously, with looking at the disposal wells.”

The seismologist job has been posted for more than 10 business days and the state has received 11 applications, including three that look interesting, according to Rister, who said they hope to start interviews shortly.

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