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Report Links Earthquakes in the U.S. With Oil Drilling Practices

Report Links Earthquakes in the U.S. With Oil Drilling Practices

Back in 2000, Oklahoma had a total of 29 earthquakes, all with relatively low magnitudes. In 2014, there were more than 5,400 earthquakes in the state, hundreds of them with a magnitude of 3 or above. According to a recent report released by the United States Geological Survey, Oklahoma is just one of eight states identified in the report (also Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio and Texas) where earthquakes are becoming increasingly common, at least partially because of oil and gas drilling practices. Oil drillers often inject polluted wastewater deep underground, which researchers say increases stress on fault lines and can trigger earthquakes. On Monday, the Oklahoma government acknowledged the increasing danger of man-made earthquakes and said the state will take action to prepare for the quakes, which could do considerable damage since the state’s building codes aren’t as strict as those in states like California, where earthquakes have long been regular occurrences. Many of the states affected by human-caused earthquakes have acknowledged the phenomenon, but, as The New York Times notes, “state regulators around the country have not gone as far in controlling industry practices as environmental groups have asked, and there is little sign that the new federal findings will goad them to go farther.” You can read the full report on the USGS website

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