Many residents of the city of Azle, Texas, in Tarrant County believe that there is a link between the fracking wastewater injection wells near Azle and a recent series of more than 30 earthquake tremors that have been damaging their homes in and around Azle.
Azle, Texas has a population of about 11,000, and is a popular tourist spot for swimming, fishing and boating at its Eagle Mountain Lake.
Local resident and anti-fracking organizer, Sharon Wilson of Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project, said that, “We need to get some relief for people who are having their homes damaged by these earthquakes.” Some residents say the earthquakes have caused cracks in their homes’ walls and foundations.
Sharon Wilson speaks to the crowd during the second public meeting in Azle Texas to discuss recent area earthquakes on Monday, January 13, 2014.[/caption]Sharon Wilson is working with fellow residents to get answers about the large quantities of chemical cocktails being pumped into the earth at the injection sites, saying that they’re worried about their air and water, and that their quality of life has been totally disrupted.
“They are worried about their health,” said Wilson. “It’s (fracking) had a big impact on my life and property value.” Dozens of angry residents have traveled to the state capital in Austin, to make their opposition to fracking heard loud and clear. “If Texas regulators want to show that they’re not owned by the oil and gas industry,” Wilson said, “they can act now, study later!”
Larry Griffith of Briar, TX told the commission that although his mobile home is about five miles away from the nearest injection well, he still felt the earthquakes. “I was standing in my house and it felt like a big truck hit the side of the house,” he said.
Addressing the Texas Railroad Commission. Earthworks is dedicated to protecting communities and the environment[/caption]Studies conducted in other parts of Texas, and in Oklahoma have directly linked earthquakes to the practice of drilling deep wells and injecting them under pressure with contaminated water from oil drilling and fracking wastewater operations. Chemicals and other fluids act to lubricate the existing underground fault lines and cause them to shift, creating localized earthquakes.
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Southern Methodist University are monitoring around Azle with sensitive instrumentation to pinpoint the location of the tremors. The researchers have said that within a couple of months, they’ll be able to tell whether there’s a link between the local earthquakes and the ongoing underground injection operations.
Environmentalists are encouraging local residents to push for tighter regulations on the disposal of fracking wastewater, and to stand up for their rights to uncontaminated groundwater from where they draw their drinking water.
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