, Muskogee, OK

June 27, 2014

Investigate fracking, quake tie

— Taxpayer money should not be spent to subsidize the process of hydraulic fracturing until studies can be made to prove whether the process causes earthquakes.

Hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — is the process of fracturing underground rock using pressurized liquids. Fracking frees oil and natural gas reserves.

The process makes drilling for fossil fuels easier and more cost effective.

The process also has been blamed for the recent increase of earthquakes in central Oklahoma.

There is no hard-core evidence to that allegation.

But it is a reasonable question to ask when you realize fracking rearranges underground rock.

Fracking is one of the reasons the oil and gas industry is rebounding in Oklahoma.

State and federal funds have helped subsidize the cost of fracking for the oil and gas industry.

That funding must stop until a definitive answer can be determined regarding the recent rash of earthquakes in our state.

We won’t go so far as to say fracking must be halted, just that taxpayers should not be paying for the process right now.

We do not have the answer as to whether fracking is causing the perceived increase in earthquakes.

But there does seem to be an increase in earthquakes in the last few years that can be felt in our area.

We also have serious concerns about the process itself. The process interjects chemicals into nature. That should be cause for concern for everyone.

We recognize the foundation of Oklahoma’s economy is made up of oil and gas.

That’s why we are stopping short of an all-out ban on fracking.

If recent earthquakes turn out to be a random increase in intensity, then it would be wrong to have stopped the entire industry.

But, we should investigate the effect of those chemicals have on nature.

And we should attempt to determine whether fracking has any effect on earthquakes.