Readers React: Could manmade quakes come to frack-friendly California?

Maintenance workers inspect the damage to one of the spires on Benedictine Hall at St. Gregory's University after a magnitude-5 earthquake in Shawnee, Okla., in 2011.
(Sue Ogrocki / Associated Press)

To the editor: As scientists map oil industry-triggered earthquakes in other states, California regulators are ignoring risky activity by oil companies. Underground injection of fracking flow-back and other oil wastewater can trigger damaging quakes, research shows — and oil companies in California inject almost 35 billion gallons of waste fluid a year into disposal wells. (“Quake map puts new attention on Oklahoma, fracking wastewater,” April 23)

A majority of California’s active oil industry wastewater wells are within 10 miles of an active fault, according to an analysis by my organization and two other nonprofit groups. Yet state oil regulators require no seismic monitoring near injection wells, even as Gov. Jerry Brown supports an increase in fracking and other oil production methods that generate huge amounts of wastewater.

State Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) recently introduced AB 1490, a bill that would prohibit wastewater injection and fracking near active faults. That’s a sensible step toward protecting California from the risk of oil industry-triggered quakes.


Shaye Wolf, San Francisco

The writer is climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity.


To the editor: How can people read about man-made earthquakes in Texas and Oklahoma and not shake their heads in wonder? How can an industry have so much power that it can literally shake up people’s lives with impunity, forcing homeowners to buy insurance to protect themselves from financial ruin at prices inflated by the industry’s hazardous activities?

This is insanity, especially if one considers that alternatives to fossil fuels are there to be developed.

It’s time to steer our fossil-fuel economy toward renewables by putting a price on carbon.

Daniel Weiser, Rancho Cucamonga

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