Fracking leads to earthquakes and new legislation in Ohio

Spring 2012 –

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said on Friday there is evidence that the high-pressure injection of fluid into the earth related to fracking caused a series of Ohio earthquakes, including a New Year’s Eve tremor in an area with little to no history of seismic activity.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the oil and gas industry for the state, said in the report from Friday that the state should pass a new law prohibiting drilling at Precambrian basement rock level – a depth that begins at approximately 9,184 feet. The law would also require companies to “review existing geologic data” before drilling.

Eleven earthquakes have originated less than two miles from a hydraulic fracturing well near Youngstown, Ohio in the last nine months, the largest being the one on New Year’s Eve, measuring a 4.0 on the Richter scale.

It was strong enough to be felt in Toronto, Canada – 300 miles away, according to the New York Times. More than 4,000 reports throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Canada were called in from people who felt the tremor.

D&L Energy Group, the owner of five hydraulic fracturing operations near Youngstown, complied with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ request that it cease activity on December 24, 2011 after a 2.4 magnitude quake.

It is still unclear as to whether operations at this location will continue.

Each well is about 9,000 feet deep and is used to dispose water from oil and gas wells. The process is related to fracking, the injection of chemical-laced water and sand into rock to release oil and gas. Many critics say that the high pressure injection of the liquid causes seismic activity.

Ohio Governor John Kasich said he plans to introduce new energy regulation legislation that could include new taxes on out-of-state waste disposal.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources said in its statement that it has plans to triple its staff of oil and gas inspection and regulatory unit from 50 to approximately 150 employees in order to handle the new regulations.

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