In announcing a new earthquake plan covering 245 wastewater injection wells, State Corporation Commission officials said this week they were finally getting out ahead of some of the quakes.
“This plan is aimed not only at taking further action in response to past activity, but also to get out ahead of it and hopefully prevent new areas from being involved,” said Tim Baker, Director of the Oil and Gas Division at the Commission. He said the plan that targets 245 disposal wells covers areas not yet experiencing major earthquakes.
But attorneys for the Sierra Club, who filed federal suit this week against Devon Energy, Chesapeake Operating and New Dominion blaming them for the quakes, were also critical of the Corporation Commission.
“The state needed to get ahead of this problem a long time ago. They failed to do so. They need to do so as soon as possible,” said Richard Webster, one of the attorneys at Public Justice, the non-profit group that filed the suit in Oklahoma City U.S. District Court.
He contends the Corporation Commission should have first developed the ability to forecast what injection would do in a given area.
“They haven’t done that,” stated Webster in an interview with OK Energy Today. “Instead they’ve been chasing the problem around where when an earthquake occurs, they shut down a few wells near the earthquake and of course what happens is an earthquake occurs somewhere else.”
Listen to the conclusion of Jerry Bohnen’s interview with Public Justice Attorneys Richard Webster and Paul Bland.