fracking earthquake caused by shale oil and gas development

Irving residents were jolted awake this morning with a M3.1 fracking earthquake. My inbox is already full.

From one email:

I do have stress cracks in my ceiling, doors that are really hard to open n shut, floors at an angle, sheet rock cracks in garage, driveway has cracked and dropped about 3″. My house is 8 yes old. It now looks and acts like a 30 yr old home.

See the USGS Event Page for more information. See the Earthquake category for more information on fracking earthquakes.

Fracking earthquakes, another reason Texans need local control.

Did you think the fracking earthquakes were over? Well, silly you. Fracking earthquakes won’t end as long as the injection continues.

This morning should be a good motivator for those who hesitate to get on a bus headed to Austin at 6:30 am Monday, March 2nd. If our lawmakers have their way, there will be no local control of the fracking activities that are the likely cause of fracking earthquakes. That means Irving’s ordinance that prohibits injection wells will be overturned. So, people, GO WITH US! If you don’t want to get on the bus, take your car.

So far, four five bills have been filled this session that could take away a city’s right to pass rules to protect the public.

NEW STUDY: “Clear evidence” M5.3 fracking “earthquake sequence was induced by fluid injection.”

Yesterday a new study was released that found injection responsible for a M5.3 earthquake. Here is the abstract:

We investigate the ongoing seismicity in the Raton Basin and find that the deep injection of wastewater from the coal‐bed methane field is responsible for inducing the majority of the seismicity since 2001. Many lines of evidence indicate that this earthquake sequence was induced by wastewater injection. First, there was a marked increase in seismicity shortly after major fluid injection began in the Raton Basin in 1999. From 1972 through July 2001, there was one M≥4 earthquake in the Raton Basin, whereas 12 occurred between August 2001 and 2013. The statistical likelihood that such a rate change would occur if earthquakes behaved randomly in time is 3.0%. Moreover, this rate change is limited to the area of industrial activity. Earthquake rates remain low in the surrounding area. Second, the vast majority of the seismicity is within 5 km of active disposal wells and is shallow, ranging between 2 and 8 km depth. The two most carefully studied earthquake sequences in 2001 and 2011 have earthquakes within 2 km of high‐volume, high‐injection‐rate wells. Third, injection wells in the area are commonly very high volume and high rate. Two wells adjacent to the August 2011 M 5.3 earthquake injected about 4.9 million cubic meters of wastewater before the earthquake, more than seven times the amount injected at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal well that caused damaging earthquakes near Denver, Colorado, in the 1960s. The August 2011 M 5.3 event is the second‐largest earthquake to date for which there is clear evidence that the earthquake sequence was induced by fluid injection.

No one knows the maximum magnitude of a fracking earthquake. So far, the quakes in North Texas have been under M4 but that’s not the case for other parts of Texas. There are no guarantees when you are fracking with Mother Nature.

UPDATE: Another new study. Coping with earthquakes induced by fluid injection

the increasing rate of earthquakes in the mid-continent is due to fluid-injection activities used in modern energy production



Todd Staples: 87 square miles cripples mighty oil and gas industry

If you listen to Todd Staples, the Denton fracking ban could take down the whole, entire oil and gas industry and the Texas economy.

“An unwieldy regulatory scheme can cripple the Texas economy,” he said. “There is a role for the city to play and a role for the state to play.” Source: Dallas Morning News

Staples, who was rejected by Texas voters in his bid to be the GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, is now a lobbyist for the Texas Oil and Gas Association. His claims about regulation are ridiculous for several reasons:

      1. There is a new study (see below) that shows local ordinances and bans won’t break the oil and gas industry.
      2. 87sq-miIn a state where everything is bigger, Denton is only 87 square miles. How big is your town?
      3. Regulation hasn’t killed other industries–even the tobacco industry thrives.
      4. How pathetic would it be if the State of Texas went broke because residents want to protect private property and their families’ safety?
      5. Basing the entire economic well-being of a state on an industry known to follow a boom and bust cycle is deeply flawed policy.
      6. If the state had played a roll other than industry lapdog, there would be no ban in Texas and I wouldn’t be typing this blog post.

New Study: Local ordinances and bans won’t break oil and gas industry.

Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy “ranks 9th among university-affiliated think tanks worldwide,” and “fourth among energy resource think tanks.” A new Baker Institute study found that local ordinances and bans won’t break the oil and gas industry as lobbyists and some legislators lead us to believe. In fact, the study found that these ordinances and even bans are “irrelevant.”

“Perhaps the single most important result from this study is that the efficiency of the U.S. natural gas market — owing to deep market liquidity, robust existing natural gas infrastructure, relative ease of infrastructure development and significant connections to Canada — renders local policies largely irrelevant to the broader U.S. natural-gas market,” said Kenneth Medlock, the James A. Baker III and Susan Baker Fellow in Energy and Resource Economics at the Baker Institute and senior director of the institute’s Center for Energy Studies. Medlock co-authored the paper with Peter Hartley, the George and Cynthia Mitchell Chair in Sustainable Development and Environmental Economics and professor of economics at Rice. Hartley is also a Baker Institute Rice Scholar. – Source

Sore losers

There is only one thing frackers hate more than following rules and that’s losing. They lost TEXAS BIG in Denton. And it’s their own fault.



Industry funded science

The oil and gas industry has funded another “scientific” study that is not a real study.  What they are spinning as a “study” is actually a report–conducted by an industry paid adviser–of air testing from one pad site in Mansfield, Texas. Despite industry spin, their testing found a chemical cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic air pollution at the one pad site where testing took place.

This is not the first time industry has used this adviser. And it’s not the first time their adviser found a chemical cocktail near oil and gas wells.

In Southlake/Colleyville, citizen testing found dangerous chemicals over TCEQ levels. Modern Geosciences did testing and said they found nothing but reading the report gave a different story. They found the same thing we found.

This latest industry funded science comes as the oil and gas industry is under fire for funding fake science. Two recent revelations:

Teasing out the truth isn’t easy for policymakers or the public. In fact, it’s a predicament common to a range of public health issues going back more than 100 years. Experts noted that a small but vocal number of scientists as well as some industry groups continue to borrow from a playbook first drafted by lead paint manufacturers in the early 20th century and expanded by Big Tobacco in subsequent decades. The tactics are chock full of legal and public relations tactics designed to preserve profitability, they say.

As HuffPost reported Wednesday, manipulated science can pose serious public health harms. Manufactured data, concealed conflicts of interest and misleading conclusions are evident in influential research on vaccination, organic food, secondhand smoke and industrial chemicals.

Fracking apparently is no exception.

This latest spin by Energy In Depth attempts to block any updates to the Mansfield drilling ordinance, no matter how reasonable.

Breathing Petroleum Vapors can Cause Death and Harm to Health.

Energy In Depth is asking Mansfield residents to believe that petroleum vapors released at gas wells is harmless. We know that’s not true.

This industry continues to be stuck on stupid. Rather than solving problems they use the same misleading tactics to dodge responsibility.

Chemical Cocktail Found at Mansfield Gas Well

Let’s take a quick look at what the report actually found.

November 20, 2014 and December 1, 2014:

This testing was conveniently done during fracking when they are putting stuff down the hole so you would not expect to find anything/much coming up the hole. The testing was done at only one pad site.

It rained during the testing, which means fewer emissions in the air. (NOTE: Photo Ionization Detector (PID) performance is affected by rain.)

Precipitation was noted during the evening of November 22, 2014 with a total of approximately 0.63 inches recorded during the one event and minor events noted earlier in the day.

There were high winds, which means the emissions will blow away and be much harder to detect.

Wind speed at the Site ranged from approximately 0 to 23 mph during the monitoring period.

Despite these unfavorable conditions, a cocktail of toxic and carcinogenic chemicals were detected. From page 7:

Concentrations of benzene, toluene, and p‐xylene were noted above the equipment detection limits.

Keep in mind that recent toxicology in the fracking zone shows the mixture of chemicals is what is important.

“The major problem is the mixture problem. And I can’t overemphasize how serious that is in trying to understand what’s going on… The presence of one agent can increase the toxicity of another agent by several fold.”

Here is a list of chemicals detected downwind:

  • Trichloromonofluoromethane
  • Ethane, 1,2‐dichloro‐
  • Benzene
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Propane, 1,2‐dichloro‐
  • Methane, bromodichloro‐
  • Toluene
  • Methane, dibromochloro‐
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Ethylbenzene
  • p‐Xylene
  • Styrene
  • o‐Xylene
  • Ethane, 1,1,2,2‐tetrachloro‐
  • Benzene, 1,3‐dichloro‐
  • Benzene, 1,4‐dichloro‐
  • Benzene, 1,2‐dichloro‐

December 17, 2014 and December 24, 2014

It was raining!  2.5 inches of rain is not minor. (NOTE: Photo Ionization Detector (PID) performance is affected by rain.)

Minor precipitation was noted periodically throughout the monitoring event, with nearly 2.5 inches of rain being recorded over the course of the week.

There was a strong wind, at least, part of the time.

Wind speed at the Site ranged from approximately 0 to 21 mph during the monitoring period.

Chemicals were still detected.

Concentrations of benzene, carbon disulfide, carbon tetrachloride, cyclohexane, Freon 113, tetrahydrofuran, heptane, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), methylene chloride, naphthalene, styrene, toluene, Freon 11, o‐xylene, and m,p‐xylene were noted above the equipment detection limits.


Modern suggests the consideration of ambient air monitoring during future padsite operations (e.g., drilling, hydraulic fracturing, flowback, or production) where potential emissions from the padsite could impact neighboring properties. Any monitoring program should allow for short term data to be obtained and relayed to the operator in a timely manner so any impact could be addressed while operations were ongoing.

Modern recommends the use of periodic padsite inspections once the site has entered production to ensure emissions are minimized and gas capture/sales are maximized. This should include the use of audio, visual, and olfactory observations supplemented with near‐equipment inspection using optical gas imaging and hand‐held meters as well as air monitoring inclusive of VOC evaluation and meteorological conditions.

Chemicals detected:

  • Benzene
  • Benzene, 1,2,4‐trimethyl‐
  • Benzene, 1,3,5‐trimethyl‐
  • Benzene, 1,3‐dichloro‐
  • Benzene, 1,4‐dichloro‐
  • Carbon disulfide
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Cyclohexane
  • Ethane, 1,1,2,2‐tetrachloro‐
  • Ethane, 1,1,2‐trichloro‐1,2,2‐trifluoro‐ (Freon 113)
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Furan, tetrahydro‐
  • Heptane
  • Methyl Butyl Ketone (MBK)
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone (MEK)
  • Methyl Isobutyl Ketone (MIBK)
  • Methyl Methacrylate
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Naphthalene
  • o‐Xylene
  • m,p‐Xylene
  • Styrene
  • Tetrachloroethylene
  • Toluene
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Trichloromonofluoromethane (Freon 11)

{ 1 comment }

If you can’t go with us, meet us there! People are coming from all areas of Texas.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 5.50.27 PM

Local control is a Texan value

Get on the bus to Austin, tell the State to say no to “big government”

Bus-supermanMany politicians in Austin got elected last November campaigning against “big government”.

Now elected, some of them want Texas to take away communities’ right to govern themselves.

That’s right, now that they are the government, these state legislators favor big government.

Why? Fracking.

Last November, Denton residents voted — in a ballot initiative — to ban fracking within city limits after years of being ignored by the oil and gas industry, and the state.

Industry and the state aren’t ignoring communities any longer. Now they’re trying to squash them.

Oil and gas industry lackeys in Austin are now trying to strip communities power to determine what happens next to their homes, schools, hospitals, and playgrounds. And these efforts aren’t limited to fracking, they’d restrict the rights of local governments across Texas in a variety of ways.

Get on the bus!

Join your fellow North Texans as we travel from Denton to our state capital in Austin to tell our representatives to uphold our right to local control.

There are multiple bills already proposed in this legislative session that if passed, will strip municipalities of their home rule rights. Let’s go tell Austin we don’t want big government taking away local control!


Depart Monday, March 2 at 6:30am: Wal-Mart, 2750 West University Drive, Denton, TX 76021
Price: $15 Click here to sign up for the bus. *You must sign up and hand in the form to get on the bus.*

Additional pick up at 7:30am: Wal-Mart, 717 West Berry Street, Forth Worth, TX 76110.
Price: $15 Click here to sign up for the bus. *You must sign up and hand in the form to get on the bus.*

Arrive in Austin at 11:30am: State Capital Building, Austin, TX

Return to Denton Wal-Mart by 8:30pm with drop-off at Fort Worth Wal-Mart.


En route, we will hear from someone with legislative experience on how to talk to our elected officials. You’ll be provided with materials to share with your representatives, and tools to help you feel confident telling your story.

We’ll arrive at the capital by 11:30 am.

We will have lunch in the Capital Grill where our lawmakers and their staff eat.

Face-to-face meetings with elected officials and their staff.

Return home – we cannot know the exact time but we will aim for no later than 8:30 p.m.

This will be a memorable, well-spent day! You will be able to say that YOU helped create the change you want to see!

For More Information:



Are you confused about ISIS beheadings? If you need help sorting out your feelings about beheadings, let Ms. Fracky Pants clear up your confusion:


Todd Staples hot air about fracking and FLIR

February 16, 2015

The hot air about fracking and FLIR has Mr. Fracky Pants feeling some heat!    Todd Staples is full of hot air about fracking and FLIR. Todd Staples was Texas Agriculture Commissioner for eight years. He doesn’t know much about fracking so it’s hard to understand why The Texas Oil and Gas Association tapped him […]

Read the full article →

Oily fracking money threatens control of your town

February 13, 2015

Even before Denton voted on the fracking ban, Representative Phil King, who is also chairman of ALEC, threatened to make local democracy illegal in Texas. Texas government is soaked in oily fracking money. King was elected on the campaign promise that “Local control and limited government must be the first resort not the last.” When […]

Read the full article →

Hold your breath Mansfield, Texas

February 12, 2015

Mansfield, Texas air is not safe for breathing. The City of Mansfield is pocked with a couple hundred shale gas wells and the equipment required to support those wells. The landman never tells people about all the required equipment. This equipment will spew cancer causing hydrocarbon gases into the air on an ongoing basis. Compressors […]

Read the full article →

Fracking Air Pollution in Arlington, Texas

February 11, 2015

It’s no surprise to anyone that there is a lot of air pollution in Arlington. Fracking and drilling there is endless Citizen Empowerment Project documents fracking air pollution in Arlington, Texas Last November, I had a couple of hours and wanted to help citizens document air pollution in Arlington. Earthworks has a FLIR camera we […]

Read the full article →

Screw the Earth Day Texas 2015?

February 10, 2015

Can this be real? I have a flyer for Earth Day Texas 2015 and it lists the following speakers: Dan Patrick, Texas Lt. Governor-Elect – Patrick characterized the “debate” over climate change as being more or less tied between those who believe in man-made climate change and those who don’t (instead of the more than […]

Read the full article →

Fracking Impacts Presented to NATO Parliamentary Assembly

February 9, 2015

At first, no one in Texas thought fracking was a bad idea. Only after directly experiencing fracking impacts, did minds change. NATO Parliamentary Assembly learns about fracking impacts. In 2013, Deborah Lawrence and I were invited to give presentations to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Austin, Texas. The delegation was shocked by the information we […]

Read the full article →