A Democratic legislator who is also a candidate for Corporation Commission contends that Tuesday’s earthquakes around northeastern Oklahoma County reinforces the contention they are being caused by wastewater injection wells.
Rep. Richard Morrissette also believes it means the state will experience seismic activity for years to come, if not decades because “so much saltwater associated with oil and gas exploration has been pumped underground in this state.”
He also claims that shutting down more of the state’s wastewater disposal wells would not drastically harm the state’s oil and gas industry.
“Limiting operations at one-fifth of the disposal wells in this state wouldn’t impose an unbearable hardship on he industry,” said Morrissette. “We observe speed limits on our highways, for example, we don’t let drivers zip along at 100 miles an hour on our turnpikes. So why shouldn’t we impose some limits on the oil and gas industry when we have scientific evidence that under certain conditions, disposal wells can and do trigger earthquakes?”
As he makes a run for the Corporation Commission, Rep. Morrissette says he is also exploring alternatives to disposal wells. He points to Fairmont Brine Processing which has a multimillion-dollar loan to build an oil and gas wastewater treatment facility in the state. Work is nearly finished on the facility that could process 2.5 million gallons of wastewater daily. Fairmont Brine uses a distillation system to remove contaminants from briny wastewater, then boils the brine which produces distilled-quality water and commercial-grade salts.
Another company that Morrissette mentions is Logic Energy Solutions which has developed an evaporation technology that it contends can reduce nearly all of the “fossil” wastewater to water vapor and dried salt.
“We have to be prepared to think ‘outside the box'” said Morrissette.