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Earthquake town hall meeting

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There has been overwhelming interest expressed in a town hall meeting to address the recent earthquake swarms which have been plaguing this area of the state. People are naturally concerned, and they want answers.

State Reprenstative Jason Murphey

State Reprenstative Jason Murphey

Based on the voluminous feedback I’ve received, State Representative Lewis Moore and I will host the town hall meeting. Moore is a fellow member of the Edmond legislative delegation and he represents House District 96 and much of northeastern Oklahoma County which has also experienced its share of quakes. We will try to host the meeting where it will be easy for residents of both districts to attend. We are currently working to establish a location and time which we intend to announce shortly.

Corporation Commission officials have agreed to speak at the meeting about the state’s response to the quakes and the Commission’s work to monitor the wastewater injection wells, which many believe have a correlational relationship to the quakes.

I hope you will attend this meeting. Here’s a small sample of what I expect will be talked about.

The Commission uses a three-tier system for permitting the ongoing operations of injection sites. They have a green, yellow and red designation with the colors corresponding to the specific situation at an injection site. As I understand it, green means all is fine and injections can proceed as normal, yellow is a cautionary state where injections may need to be scaled back, and red indicates that perhaps the site should be shut down.

A few months ago, a Love County injection site operator voluntarily supplied pressure data from two of his sites. Based on this data, the Commission found a correlation between the injections and seismic activity. They transitioned the Love County sites from a green designation to a yellow designation. At that time, the site operator voluntarily suspended operations.

The Commission recently mandated that this same data be provided by many of the other injection sites, including some in this area. That mandate is scheduled to take effect soon. However, even before the mandate starts, the data is already being provided from the site close to the Liberty Lake quake swarm. 

That means this latest quake swarm can be studied by state geology officials using the new data from this site. They may decide that a correlation exists between the current ongoing Quakes and the injections. Should that be the case, the Commission could take action to scale back the operations of the sites.

It’s important to know that the Commission cannot act in an arbitrary or capricious manner because their decision-making process must be factual and data based or it could be overturned in court. There isn’t a lot of court-based precedent for these matters yet and the Commission must carefully follow protocol and best practice.

Rep. Moore and I will give the Commission and geology officials a little time to study the data prior to our town hall meeting so they can provide us with the most up-to-date information. Based on the data, the Commission could transition area sites to yellow status before the meeting occurs, but we will still host the meeting.

In addition to the town hall meeting, next month I will ask for a legislative interim hearing into this matter. If approved, the hearing will allow the Legislature to take testimony as we prepare for the filing of new bills later this year.

Thank you for reading this article. Your interest and input are much appreciated. Please do not hesitate to email Jason.Murphey@hd31.orgwith your thoughts and suggestions. 

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