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Fracking Fallacies

The small city of Cleburne, Texas, about 30 miles south of Fort Worth, hadn’t had a single earthquake in all of its 142-year history. The oil and gas industry has drilled over 200 gas wells within the city in recent years. A lot of new millionaires have been created in the area due to the drilling and the city gleaned $25 million for drilling on municipal land. Nearly all of the wells used the process of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” to produce the gas. Fracking is the process of injecting LARGE (read hundreds of thousands of gallons per well) volumes of water and toxic chemicals, such as hydrochloric acid, thousands of feet into the earth under extreme pressure to enhance recovery of the natural gas. In the last month, Cleburne has had five small quakes large enough to be felt by the populace and “several dozen” mini-quakes too small to be felt.

Hydraulic Fracturing has long been known to be the cause earthquakes in many areas. According to the University of Texas, Institute for fmbSmallGeophysics, “…wherever there is considerable petroleum production, and especially when there is fluid injection to enhance recovery or to dispose of waste, people should be aware that induced earthquakes are possible”.

According to Jeff Eshelman, a spokesman for the Independent Petroleum Association of America, he hasn’t seen “any overwhelming, scientific evidence other than anecdotes to suggest a connection between energy exploration and major seismic events.”

Reference this recent Bugle article for other hazards of hydraulic fracturing.


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