Oklahoma has been cause for debate in the past 10 years due to its intensifying earthquakes. Oklahoma today has over 500 earthquakes per year, in an area with no fault lines. This is quite worrying, especially because Oklahoma is now the second most seismically active state in the U.S., after Alaska, in an area that has never before had this activity. People are now thinking that deep-well-injection of waste from oil and gas companies – and the enormous amounts of fracking in the area – are the cause of these earthquakes, and that something must be done to stop them.
This article talks about a large oil storage facility on Oklahoma land that is currently threatened by the earthquakes. If it is destroyed by an earthquake, it could release the millions of gallons of oil stored there – it is one of the largest storage hubs in the world. This could affect both cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, not to mention the large amount of land and ecosystems between them that it could destroy permanently.
Unfortunately there is no serious political move to stop the injection that is causing the earthquakes. Oklahoma is a state dominated by the energy industry, its main source of economic activity, even though it is harming the state as a whole. Now though, it is gaining national attention. After the 5.7 tembler earthquake in 2011, this issue is making waves in national media. Articles like this one explain a few aspects of the issue, and websites like this one show its deeper effects.
The other aspect of these earthquakes to take into consideration is the effect they have on the people of Oklahoma. Even though the state as a whole is making money off of industry wastewater injection and fracking, the people are reaping the horrible consequences. In OK now, the state has lifted bans on fracking, saying that it is up to the affected people themselves to take on industry, even though OK is a state of mostly poor farmers and industry workers unable to compete. Here’s a link.
This issue doesn’t just stop in Oklahoma, since 2005 southern Kansas has begun to be affected by the same industries causing man-made earthquakes.
What to do? Get involved online and in your community!
Check out an online earthquake tracker:
and find out what the state government is doing:
Watch some free documentaries:
and TED talks:
Written by Isabel Rummell, ESLLC 2015-2016