Quantcast

Colorado Regulators Halt Fracking Wastewater Injection Operation After Earthquake Strikes Area For Second Time in One Month

Fracking

Thankfully, two earthquakes proved to be too many.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COOGC) has directed High Sierra Water Services to stop disposing wastewater into a Weld County injection well as a result of a 2.6 magnitude earthquake striking the area Monday morning, about five miles away from Greeley, CO, the Colorado Independent reported. The earthquake marked the second one in just one month.

Colorado regulators halted the operation of a wasterwater injection well after an earthquake struck the area for the second time in less than a month. Photo credit: Wikipedia Commons

High Sierra agreed to a 20-day halt after University of Colorado seismologists found evidence of low-level seismic activity near the injection site, including a 2.6-magnitude quake.

“In light of the findings of CU’s team, we think it’s important we review additional data, bring in additional expertise and closely review the history of injection at this site in order to more fully understand any potential link to seismicity and use of this disposal well,” COGCC Director Matt Lepore said.

To environmentalists, the connection between injection and earthquakes is as indisputable now as it was following the event on May 31.

"Better safe than sorry—injecting fracking wastewater has definitely caused earthquakes in other states and it could be the cause here too, so it's smart of COGCC to halt this activity," said Gary Wockner, an environmental activist based in Fort Collins, CO.

The COGCC will evaluate the baseline, historical seismic activity there, well injection rates, pressures and volumes and continue coordination with the team from Colorado University and the U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado Geological Survey. Other disposal wells in the area will also receive evaluation.

 There are more than 24,000 wells in Weld County. In the past 18 months, six cities with more than 400,000 citizens have approved fracking bans or moratoriums.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pro-environment demonstrators on the streets of Washington, DC during the Jan. 20, 2017 Trump inauguration. Mobilus In Mobili / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Dr. Brian R. Shmaefsky

One year after the Flint Water Crisis I was invited to participate in a water rights session at a conference hosted by the US Human Rights Network in Austin, Texas in 2015. The reason I was at the conference was to promote efforts by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to encourage scientists to shine a light on how science intersects with human rights, in the U.S. as well as in the context of international development. My plan was to sit at an information booth and share my stories about water quality projects I spearheaded in communities in Bangladesh, Colombia, and the Philippines. I did not expect to be thrown into conversations that made me reexamine how scientists use their knowledge as a public good.

Read More
Mt. Rainier and Reflection Lake on Sept. 10, 2015. Crystal Geyser planned to open a bottling plant near Mt. Rainier, emails show. louelke - on and off / Flickr

Bottled water manufacturers looking to capture cool, mountain water from Washington's Cascade Mountains may have to look elsewhere after the state senate passed a bill banning new water permits, as The Guardian reported.

Read More
Sponsored
Large storage tank of Ammonia at a fertilizer plant in Cubatão, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. Luis Veiga / The Image Bank / Getty Images

The shipping industry is coming to grips with its egregious carbon footprint, as it has an outsized contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and to the dumping of chemicals into open seas. Already, the global shipping industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions, about the same as Germany, as the BBC reported.

Read More
At high tide, people are forced off parts of the pathway surrounding DC's Tidal Basin. Andrew Bossi / Wikimedia

By Sarah Kennedy

The Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC overlooks the Tidal Basin, a man-made body of water surrounded by cherry trees. Visitors can stroll along the water's edge, gazing up at the stately monument.

But at high tide, people are forced off parts of the path. Twice a day, the Tidal Basin floods and water spills onto the walkway.

Read More
Lioness displays teeth during light rainstorm in Kruger National Park, South Africa. johan63 / iStock / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Ahead of government negotiations scheduled for next week on a global plan to address the biodiversity crisis, 23 former foreign ministers from various countries released a statement on Tuesday urging world leaders to act "boldly" to protect nature.

Read More