The controversial natural gas fracking process that has driven an explosion of natural gas drilling across the nation caused a dozen earthquakes in Ohio, state regulators confirmed:
A dozen earthquakes in northeastern Ohio were almost certainly induced by injection of gas-drilling wastewater into the earth, Ohio oil and gas regulators said Friday as they announced a series of tough new regulations for drillers.
Among the new regulations: Well operators must submit more comprehensive geological data when requesting a drill site, and the chemical makeup of all drilling wastewater must be tracked electronically.
In addition to requiring well operators to submit complete geophysical logs, the new requirements intended to avert fracking quakes include:
– Future injection into Precambrian rock will be banned, and existing wells penetrating the formation will be plugged.
– State-of-the-art pressure and volume monitoring will be required, including automatic shut-off systems.
– Electronic tracking systems will be required that identify the makeup of all drilling wastewater fluids entering the state.
Republican presidential candidates have mocked concerns about fracking. Mitt Romney has called the EPA “out of control” for its modest efforts to increase fracking oversight and Rick Santorum calls hydrofracking the “new boogeyman.”