At 8:03 a.m. Sept. 3 in Garrett County, we received a text from our Kansas City, Kansas, daughter to say that she and her family just experienced an earthquake, special delivery from Oklahoma. We texted back, “fracking wastewater injection wells.”
On Sept. 4, The Associated Press reported about this strong Oklahoma quake “in the edge of Oklahoma’s key energy-producing areas,” bringing attention to the “practice of disposing oil and gas field wastewater deep underground.” Lubricating tectonic plates with fracking “slickwater” enhances movement of these plates (“Record-tying Oklahoma quake felt as far away as Arizona,” Times-News, Page 2A).
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission, a jurisdictional regulatory body, “asked” wastewater well owners to “reduce disposal volumes” in 2013. Asked, mind you. Now they are slowly shutting down 37 injection wells near the center of this strong quake. Slowly, because fast could set off more quakes.
Like waste from the nuclear energy industry, toxic waste liquids from oil and gas development (fracking) have no safe disposal. Injecting toxic chemicals, no longer recyclable, deep into the earth, is the “best practices” disposal method for industry and regulators.
You can’t dehydrate the liquid and disperse it to the wind. And you can’t bury it without destroying the life-supporting capacity of soil and contaminating drinking water. Fact is, there is no safe place for this chemical and radioactive slurry.
How many more reasons do we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition as quickly as we can to energy that sustains us rather than harms us?
Join my family in asking Maryland Senate President Mike Miller to please lead the Senate and Maryland in banning fracking. And thanks are due to the House of Delegates Environment and Transportation Committee for coming to Garrett County recently to listen to our concerns about fracking.
Ann Bristow, commissioner, Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Initiative
Frostburg (Garrett County resident)