New Research Suggests Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Well before his gig as Fed Chairman, a young Randian economist named Alan Greenspan once postulated that the profit-seeking of big business “is the unexcelled protector of the consumer.” Of course, it’s worth noting that Greenspan’s essay, entitled “The Assault on Integrity,” was published decades before the present-day fracking boom, which might well be putting unwitting Americans at risk all around the nation as drilling companies continue their relentless pursuit of skyrocketing profits.

As previously reported by Inquisitr, the U.S. Geological study recently published a report indicating that the continued rise in hydraulic fracturing — better known by its colloquial name “fracking” — is “almost certainly” behind spates of earthquakes in Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.

CNN reports that the Dallas, Texas area alone has experienced “almost 40 small earthquakes” in 2015, including a two-day stretch in early January in which 11 earthquakes were logged over the course of 24 hours. According to the Dallas Morning News, a 4.0 earthquake rattled Johnson County on Thursday, May 7. Johnson County is just south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Bolstering the USGS report linking fracking to quakes are the findings of a new Southern Methodist University-led research team, which indicate that drilling in parts of Texas “most likely” caused a number of earthquakes in the area over the course of recent years.

State Column reports that SMU researchers are especially concerned that a small earthquake could lead to another, especially where fault-lines are involved. However, the Texas Railroad Commission, an organization that oversees oil and gas affairs in the state, has been hesitant to accept findings that link the fracking industry to seismic activity.

For his part, Texas Governor Greg Abbott appears ready to kick his state’s fracking industry into overdrive when he signs a bill that will loosen restrictions on fracking companies. HB40, a bill that has been nicknamed the “Denton Fracking Bill” after the Texas town that voted for a complete ban on the practice within its borders, will effectively prevent Texas cities from placing any major restrictions on fracking companies. According to NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, the anticipated move was roundly condemned by Adam Briggle, President of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group.

“By signing HB40 into law, Governor Abbott just declared that industry profits are more important than our health, our homes and our kids” said a statement issued by Biggle. “The letter of Texas law now says no city can ‘effectively prevent an oil and gas operation from occurring’, no matter the threat to families’ health and safety or damage to private property.”

Ever since the Mayan calendar came to its anticlimactic end a few years ago, the concept of a life-changing mega-disaster has more or less faded from the forefront of American imaginations. From box-office smashes like The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 to the Echo Bridge “mockbuster” 10.5: Apocalypse, audiences once flocked to screens in an effort to view Armageddon from a comfortable distance. But if the USGS and SMU reports are indeed accurate, some real-life action might soon be playing out at fracking sites all around the country. And much like the film moguls of Hollywood, those at the top echelons of the fracking industry appear to have the bankroll and the connections to make it happen.