Government & Politics

“An unusual and widely felt 5.6-magnitude quake in Oklahoma in 2011 was probably caused when oil drilling waste was pushed deep underground, a team of university and federal scientists concluded. That would make it the most powerful quake to be blamed on deep injections of wastewater, according to a study published Tuesday by the journal Geology. The waste was from traditional drilling, not from the hydraulic fracturing technique, or fracking.

We shouldn’t be alarmist about “man-made earthquakes” or raise imperfect comparisons to the expanding sinkhole at Bayou Corne. However, I think we should prioritize a statewide audit of all Louisiana injection wells that have indications of integrity problems due to subterranean pressures caused by drilling waste-water pumped back into the ground. There’s apparently a lot we still don’t know.

Mark Moseley

Mark Moseley blogs at Your Right Hand Thief. Until mid 2014, Mark Moseley was The Lens' opinion writer, engagement specialist and coordinator for the Charter Schools Reporting Corps. After Katrina and...