USGS Punts On Fracking-related Earthquakes

USGS Punts On Fracking-related Earthquakes by DM Crumbliss, June 18, 2012, Red Orbit
The US Geological Survey (USGS) folded to pressure from the fossil fuel industry and pro-fracking Congress members last week by releasing a “more study needed” report on fracking and earthquakes. The stakes are simply high enough that the agency is unwilling to strongly state the obvious. The report to Congress says, “ Keep fracking, these earthquakes are no big deal.” Earthquake activity has jumped significantly in areas where wastewater injections and fracking wells are located. … Depending on its location, “any disposal well that’s been pumping stuff into the ground for months can cause earthquakes,” said Armbruster, who’s studied earthquakes and drilling for 40 years. Even the notably non-committal USGS report states “”Hydraulic fracturing in a well for shale gas development, which involves injection of fluids to fracture the shale and release the gas up the well, has been confirmed as the cause for small felt seismic events at one location in the world,” the report states. It found small seismic events involving “a very limited number” of injection wells, but the long-term effects of the growing number of wells wasn’t known. In general, shifting the balance of fluids underground – whether taking more out of the ground than is put back in or vice versa – is likely to trigger seismic activity, the report concludes.

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