Texas Oil and Gas Regulators Hiring Siesmologist to Investigate Increased Earthquake Activity

Jan 9, 2014

Railroad Comissioner David J. Porter
Railroad Comissioner David J. Porter
Credit MOSE BUCHELE / StateImpact Texas

The Railroad Commission of Texas recently met.  Commissioner David Porter announced the search for a staff seismologist in response to the rash of small earthquakes that have sprung up throughout the state along with the boom in oil and gas production reported Mose Buchele for StateImpact Texas.  

The Railroad Commission of Texas is the state Agency that regulates the Texas oil and gas industry.

The hire “will allow the commission to be able to study seismic activity in Texas based on proven science and facts which the commission rules and regulations must be based on,” Porter said.

Milton Rister, Commission Executive Director, was instructed to begin the search.

Porter did not move any closer to publicly acknowledging that disposal wells or injection wells can cause earthquakes. He said instead “the U.S. Geological Survey, regulatory agencies, as well as various academic institutions, are conducting research studies into the possibility of correlation between oil and gas activities and scientific activity.”

The USGS and academic institutions have already produced research showing injecting water into the ground can cause earthquakes.

StateImpact Texas has also received emails from the Railroad Commission’s staff acknowledging the correlation.