Contrary to earlier reports denying a connection, the new USGS report says midwest cities are courting seismic disaster by allowing fracking to continue.
Remember back in 2011, when an earthquake centered in Virginia damaged the Washington monument? At the time, there were some anecdotal articles suggesting that fracking activities in the region may have triggered the quake. The reports, however, were mostly ignored, and the frackers went back to business as usual. This was also the period when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was leveraging U.S. fracking operations into other countries around the world. It's little wonder the fracking-earthquake connection was not pursued.
Now it turns out that yes, fracking does indeed cause earthquakes, and no, it's not just another nutty conspiracy theory. Research by the U.S. Geological Survey says, in fact, that human disruption of underground areas in the central states are now facing earthquake risks on a par with California. Yet another dividend of short term, consequence-free extraction of "cheap" natural gas.
As reported by The Guardian:
It's time we looked at fracking as an act of domestic terrorism. With renewables now on par with fossil fuels on an energy production basis, there's simply no excuse for destroying water supplies and endangering millions of Americans to squeeze out a few more years of inexpensive natural gas.
"People in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas now face the same threat of destructive earthquakes as Californians, with human-induced tremors from oil and gas production helping spread earthquake vulnerability across much of the US. For the first time, the US Geological Survey mapped out areas of the country vulnerable to earthquakes caused by human activityas well as natural events and found that around seven million people in the central and eastern US are at risk from ground-shaking episodes.
The risk of a major tremor over the next year is greatest in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas, the USGS study found, with the largest number of at-risk people found in Oklahoma and Texas. Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas also have a significant number of people potentially disturbed by earthquakes caused by human activity."