Oklahoma is currently experiencing the worst seismic activity we have ever known and despite more than 5,000 earthquakes ranging from a magnitude of 1.3 to 4.7 in the last year, the Oklahoma Legislature chose to stifle the ability for local municipalities to set limits for disposal wells based on the needs of their community. This move, steered by the Republican-dominated state legislature, the same politicians who continually campaign on the ideals of small government and local control, continue to spread misinformation and tie the hands of their own constituents.
Yesterday’s action by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s Oil and Gas Conservation Division (OGCD) to call for a reduction in well activity is only a small step in dealing with a much larger problem. It is disappointing that the legislature and the Corporation Commission waited so long to take action towards remedying a problem that has been allowed to get so far out of control, especially over the past 3 years. This is evident by the recent news that Oklahoma has now become the earthquake capital of the world.
“Now, as we approach the start of the 2016 legislative session, we call on the legislature to take swift and immediate action to restore local control and deal with a problem which continues to spiral out of hand. Furthermore, we call upon the people of Oklahoma to hold their elected officials accountable for their action or inaction as it may be and should these officials refuse to take the necessary action, that communities join together to make purposeful and decisive steps at the ballot box in 2016 to elect new representatives that put the concerns of their people and property above the priorities of special interests,” said Mark Hammons, chair of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.
See Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s plan for Reduction in Volumes for Wells Located in Area of Interest for Induced Seismicity (January 4, 2016)