Quakes Turn Texas Towns Against Fracking

Denton might become state's first town to ban it
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2014 8:36 AM CDT
Quakes Turn Texas Towns Against Fracking
In this April 19, 2013 photo, vapor shoots from a natural gas well owned by Eagle Ridge Operating LLC, in Denton, Texas.   (AP Photo/The Denton Record-Chronicle, David Minton)

Earthquakes used to be unheard of in the Texas towns of Azle and Reno. But from November to January, the area experienced 34 perceptible tremors, and while they were all minor, topping out at magnitude 3.6, residents are spooked—and blaming the local fracking industry, NBC News reports. Studies elsewhere have shown that injecting fracking wastewater into the ground can cause quakes. A study is currently being done to see if that's the case here, but residents at a recent public forum made clear that they don't want to wait the years it will take to complete it. "They want to shut those wells down," the mayor of Reno said, to rousing applause.

Azle and Reno aren't alone, either. The city council in Denton, Texas has ordered a temporary stop to all fracking, as it considers a proposal to ban it outright, the AP reports. Fracking has driven Denton's economy for more than a decade, but drillers there have defied city rules requiring them to line wastewater pits, and forbidding them from burning waste gas in residential areas. "I think the people of Denton really want to keep the livability of the town," one resident said. "And fracking is pretty obtrusive." (Read more fracking stories.)

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