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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

KXAN: Investigation of link between fracking and earthquakes outside Dallas-Ft. Worth

by Kate Weidaw, KXAN, May 12, 2014

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Monday the Subcommittee on Seismic Activity will hold a hearing at the State Capitol to listen to testimony concerning earthquakes and their possible relation to fracking.
Hundreds of minor earthquakes have occurred in Northern Texas near the sites of oil and gas production and lawmakers want to know if fracking is causing it or a fault line.
Fracking is a process where liquid, many times water, is mixed with sand and other chemicals and injected into the ground at a very high pressure to penetrate the deep rock formations to extract the gas and oil.
The water that is used in the process is then stored in disposal wells near these sites because it is too polluted with metals and toxins.
The big question by experts is, is the act of the drilling or the disposal wells that are buried thousands of feet underground causing the earthquakes?
North Texas has experienced more than 300 minor earthquakes in the past few years, some in the Barnett Shale area near Dallas Fort Worth.
The subcommittee will not take public comment Monday but instead invited speakers like the Mayors of Reno and Azle as well as university geologists, and the Railroad Commission Seismologist will testify.
But advocates encourage public engagement.
“If people are worried about it, the only thing that ever gets heard over at the Capitol is organized people and that’s the only way you beat the organized political act of the polluters,” said Tom “Smitty” Smith, Texas Director of Public Citizen.
The subcommittee hearing can be attended by the public at 1 p.m. at the State Capitol.
A spokesperson for Committee Chair Representative Myra Crownover’s office said there were no public hearings planned at this time because they are taking it one step at a time.

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