Many Oklahomans can still vividly recall the day they experienced their first earthquake. Ever since 2009/2010, earthquakes in the state have increased exponentially – leading to what are called “seismic swarms”. In 2000 there was not a single earthquake, but in 2014 we experienced 585 quakes of magnitude three or larger.
Oklahomans want to get to the bottom of this mystery increase of quakes and are turning to state officials for answers. As a state legislator, I am concerned that a conflict of interest in universities could get in the way of finding answers – and implementing solutions.
For some time now, scientists have wondered whether fracking-related activities, such as wastewater injection, might be the source of increased seismic activity in Oklahoma. In May of last year, the Oklahoma Geological Survey, an affiliate entity of the University of Oklahoma, released a statement in conjunction with the United States Geological Survey, saying that wastewater injection was a “likely contributing factor the increase in earthquakes”.