The Texas Railroad Commission caught on fracking industry lap again.
This is not really breaking news. The lapdog never leaves the frackers lap.
The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) has absolved XTO/ExxonMobil and Enervest from any responsibility for the frackquakes that suddenly rocked the small Texas towns of Azle and Reno. The frackquakes immediately and suspiciously lessened when fracking waste injection halted.
From Dallas Morning News:
Railroad Commission again finds oil and gas industry not to blame for quakes
Five months ago geologists from Southern Methodist University identified two wells used to store wastewater from natural gas drilling as the likely cause of a series of earthquakes around the North Texas town of Azle in late 2013.
State examiners clear EnerVest well of causing quakes
- Officials cite a lack of evidence linking the wells to quakes
- Last month, XTO wastewater well was also cleared
- A study by SMU is commended but disregarded
Last week I wrote about the RRC’s decision to let XTO/ExxonMobil off the hook for the frackquakes and predictions that frackquakes will increase due to expanded fracking to fulfill LNG export contracts.
Included in my blog post is criticism of SMU for not showing up at the hearing.
It was another Kabuki hearing where no one was there to represent the public because SMU researchers failed to appear.
Understandably, Irving residents are not feeling hopeful about getting answers despite SMU’s stated commitment to the Irving earthquake study. Frackquakes are a major public safety issue. What’s the point in doing the science if you aren’t willing to defend it so it can be used to protect the public?
For your amusement:
Steve Everley who works for FTI Consulting and Energy In Depth has harshly criticized the SMU study. That’s expected. The Joe Camels of fracking “debunk” any and everything they don’t like. But Everley loves the SMU study when it’s suits his purpose of desperately and futilely trying to squelch the term “frackquakes.”
A trail of tweets:
About Sharon Wilson
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Cathy Wallace says
Are earthquakes connected to fracking?
Letters to the Editor Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Published: September 3, 2015 3:45 pm
Re: “Report rules out link between well, quakes — State’s findings at odds with those of study by SMU geologists,” Tuesday Metro story.
The finding from the Texas Railroad Commission lets Irving know what the results of their 7-million-dollar taxpayer-funded study will be at the end of 2016. We only need to wait another year and a half to find out nothing has changed. I believe this region will have many more quakes.
I recently received a letter from the Railroad Commission that stated, “It is the highest priority of the Railroad Commission to protect public safety and our natural resources.” They failed to say “not necessarily in that order.”
The Railroad Commission seems to have no compassion and empathy for people and their property.
It makes no sense economically for a Texas agency to continue damaging our communities.
A recent Standard and Poor’s report said that the fracking-related earthquake trend “will continue to have sharp economic consequences for home and business owners, mortgage lenders, insurance companies and investors exposed to real estate in earthquake affected areas.”
Irving, TX Resident
Your post is very appropriate for the RRC. The RRC is a BIG waste of tax money. The RRC should be taken off of public funding–they should be allowed to solicit their funding from O&G and other polluters in Texas. A lot of tax money would be saved—–and, NOTHING WOULD CHANGE!
Alberta Neighbor says
Who would have thought the Netherlands and Texas would have so much in common. Not Exxon Mobil’s first rodeo, but maybe they can buy themselves 25 years with the help of the RRC – or at least until a court orders them to fix Texas.
“Earthquake Risks in Groningen, An investigation into the role of the safety of citizens during the decision making process on gas extraction by Dutch Safety Board, Board member for the project: Prof. mr. dr. Erwin Muller, The Hague, February 2015
… Much of the prevailing dissatisfaction in Groningen is rooted in the past. The people of Groningen refer to the period – now almost 25 years ago – in which the exploration company catergorically maintained that the earthquakes could not have anything to do with gas extraction. When a relationship with gas extraction was nonetheless found to exist, the first crack in NAM’s credibility became a fact. This pattern subsequently repeatedly itself. The earthquakes would only cause slight damage at the most – considerable damage occurred nonetheless. The severity of the earthquakes would not exeed 3.3 on the Richter scale – but they did nonetheless.
… Studies suggested that the intensity of future earthquakes would be minimal and even though the maximum intensity had been adjusted upward on a number of occasions, the parties responsible for gas extraction ruled out the idea that the earthquakes would lead to personal accidents. The earthquake in the village of Huizinge in 2012 dispelled this optimistic belief. Since the supervisory authority’s warning in early 2013, many people viewed the earthquakes not just as a damage issue but also as a threat to the safety of the citizens of Groningen. The reassuring certainty that the intensity of the earthquakes would not exceed a certain value had vanished.”
September 2015 – “Netherlands court orders Shell & Exxon Mobil to pay 100,000 homeowners billions of dollars in quake damages
A Netherlands court ruled on Wednesday that a Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil joint venture must pay homeowners for property damage caused by gas drilling related earthquakes. The Dutch Safety Board has warned several times in the past few years that natural gas production in Groningen field area increases earthquake risk, and that companies have not done enough to mitigate the risk. Nearly a hundred thousand homes and buildings were damaged in the quakes, with damage estimates in the billions.”
“… A Shell spokesman admitted that the decline in the value of the homes is directly linked to an increase in seismic activity at the gas field: ‘We recognize the concern of residents and agree that in specific cases earthquakes can cause a decline in value.’
It was stating the obvious perhaps, but it is also the first time a big oil producer has admitted that drilling is directly connected to seismic shifts.
… The Groeningen case is somewhat different – drilling in a single gas field rather than fracking – but there are enough parallels to make every shale company sit up and pay attention.
Only oil industry diehards could deny the link between fracking and earthquakes. The US Geological Survey’s public position is that injecting billions of gallons of water into the earth’s surface rock is the primary cause of increased seismic activity in states such as Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Most activity is low on Richter scale – quakes that won’t inflict immediate or significant damage, but that over time, and if frequent enough, will cause homes to crumble. After hundreds of small quakes, many homes in Oklahoma are displaying severe signs of deterioration.
Damage to homes is probably the least of the fracking industry’s concern right now.”