Governor Says USGS Earthquake Repot Shows State is Taking the Rright Steps

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin responded to the U.S. Geological Survey’s new earthquake maps showing potential areas of human induced quakes as a sign that the state is taking the right steps in putting restrictions on wastewater injection wells as ordered by the Corporation Commission.

“Recent declines in produced wastewater disposal in Oklahoma are not reflected in the USGS map,” said the governor. “This gives us even a stronger base in going forward and gives state regulators further justification for what they are doing.”

She noted that the OCC is following the recommendation of researchers who blame the disposal of produced saltwater deep into the Arbuckle formation. The state ordered a 40 percent reduction in saltwater injections below the 2014 total in a massive 10,000 square mile area of central and northern Oklahoma. The USGS, in releasing its first-ever maps of potential earthquake areas caused by humans said some places in the state would experience damage if the induced seismicity continues unabated.

“Oklahoma remains committed to doing whatever is necessary to reduce seismicity in the state,” said the governor. “The report supports the actions that we are taking.”

Governor Fallin formed the Coordinating Council on Seismic Activity in 2014. She said the USGS report will also be reviewed to evaluate how recommendations can be included into the state’s Emergency Operations Plan and ongoing preparation efforts.

Prior to the release of the USGS report, Emergency Management Director Albert Ashwood led a statewide working group to develop an earthquake response plan.

“In Oklahoma, we recognize the importance of being prepared for all types of disasters that could affect the state, including earthquakes,” Ashwood said. “The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is reviewing the report released by the United States Geological Survey to determine how it may aid our castastrophic earthquake planning efforts.”

Oklahoma Energy and Environment Secretary Michael Teague said the report highlights why action has been taken to address induced seismic risk in the state.

“The Oklahoma Corporation Commission’s work to further reduce the overall disposal of produced water into the Arbuckle Formation is in line with researchers from across the country as the best way to lower the potential for seismic hazard highlighted in the USGS report,” said Teague.