ODNR Says Youngstown Earthquakes “Probably” Caused by Fracking

probablyAlthough they don’t know for certain, the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) is assuming that Hilcorp’s Utica Shale drilling and fracking in the Youngstown area a month ago is the “probable” cause of a series of earthquakes in the area (see # of Youngstown Earthquakes go from 2 to 11 – Fracking to Blame?). A few of the earthquakes were barely felt by some people. Most of the 11 quakes were not noticeable by humans on the surface. On Friday the ODNR instituted a new policy requiring drilling and fracking near known faults and active earthquake areas to use a seismic monitor. If a 1.0 or higher quake occurs during drilling and fracking, all drilling will stop until it’s investigated.

If we assume the Ohio quakes in March were caused by fracking over a “previously unknown microfault” as the ODNR assumes, this would be the fourth such instance of fracking itself causing an earthquake–out of 60,000+ horizontally fracked wells (see Fracking has (so far) Triggered Earthquakes 3x – Out of 60K Wells). Statistically speaking it’s still zero. It’s important to a) acknowledge it can happen, but b) keep it in perspective. You have a greater chance of being struck by lightening than of experiencing a fracking-triggered earthquake. It only happens in specific, rare circumstances. Here’s the statement (and map) from the ODNR on how they’re going to treat drilling near faults and previous earthquake zones…

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