Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner Dana Murphy says the new U.S. Geological Survey report proclaiming Oklahoma as the state with the highest earthquake risk in the U.S. supports the actions taken by the commission in targeting the state’s saltwater disposal wells. But the OCC’s actions are also being criticized by a legislator who wants to unseat Murphy as Commissioner.
“The new map released by the United States Geological Survey is another element that clearly shows the need for the actions that have been taken by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to reduce the risk of induced earthquakes in Oklahoma,” said Murphy in a release issued late Monday. “The latest OCC Oil and Gas Conservation Division plans cover not only the state’s earthquake areas, but also areas that haven’t had major seismic activity.”
Murphy, who is a Republican running for re-election said the OCC has taken more than 25 actions over the past three years and the response will continue to evolve with the science and the research.
“There is no doubt that will be the case when it comes to development of a model to predict induced seismicity risk for a given area,” she added. “This first effort by the USGS is understandably limited in scope, but continued development will provide another important tool for Oklahkoma and other states that are working to reduce earthquake risk.”
Murphy said she gave support last summer to the first Oil and Gas Division area-wide volume reduction plan.
“We must continue to take progressive steps based on the latest scientific data and research as quickly as possible to resolve this complex and challenging public safety issue.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic legislator who announced he will challenge Murphy, Rep. Richard Morrissette responded to the report too, saying Gov. Fallin might “sprain her arm if she continues to pat herself on the back over her administration’s response to earthquakes.”
He said what the governor fails to mention is that her administration was more than a year late in responding to all of the seismic activity in the state.
“Foundations, walls and ceiling were cracking for at least two years before this governor and the Corporation Commission took this issue seriously,” said Morrissette. “Why didn’t the Corporation Commission develop a map such as the USGS’s months ago? Why once again, did it take the federal government to do what a state agency should have done long ago?”
He didn’t let up in criticizing the governor and the OCC.
“As usual, the present state of affairs in the Governor’s office and in the Corporation Commission is to blow smoke in the general direction of the public. The Commission, as usual, is a date late, a dollar short, and protects special interests first and the public last.”