Frackers told to shut wells after quake

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is telling operators to shut down 35 disposal wells that may have played a role in a 5.6-magnitude earthquake that shook at least six states September 3, 2016, Gov. Mary Fallin said.

The disposal wells, which are linked to fracking and other industries that need to dispose of toxic waste water by injecting it deep into the earth, have recently drawn concern that they may actually induce earthquakes.

The commission, which regulates fuel, oil, gas, public utilities and transportation industries, is investigating to determine the epicenter of the quake. The Environmental Protection Agency is also investigating.

Earthquakes in Oklahoma are generally not directly caused by fracking, but rather by pressure from the disposal wells, which are used by the industry to get rid of the toxic waste water that comes out of the earth along with oil and gas.

“The disposal wells dispose into the state’s deepest formation, the Arbuckle formation, which is right above what we call the basement,” said commission spokesman Matt Skinner. The basement is above where the critical faults lie that shift and make earthquakes.”

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