Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

last month Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin finally acknowledged the oil industry’s culpability in the state’s recent spate of earthquakes. Meanwhile, on August 3rd the state imposed strict new limits on how much waste fluid companies can pump. These cuts are the state’s latest effort to stop the earthquakes, reports NPR member station KOSU. The new regulations require the amount of waste fluid to be cut by 38 percent by October.


A recent Standard & Poor report maintains that Oklahoma will face sharp economic consequences in the future as a result of man-made earthquakes.

Wikimedia Commons

The increasing rate of earthquakes in Oklahoma has resulted in a crackdown on disposal wells in the state, reports StateImpact, a reporting project of NPR member stations. Last year, Oklahoma experienced nearly 600 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger. This year, the state has already suffered 500 such earthquakes.

Sarah Nichols / Flickr

McAlister, Oklahoma, has had a ban on oil drilling within its city limits since 1974. But now Governor Mary Fallin has signed controversial legislation outlawing municipal drilling bans, and the mayor of this small town in southeastern Oklahoma isn’t happy, reports KOSU. In fact, he wrote a eulogy for the death of his town’s 41-year old drilling ban, referring to the ordinance by the name “Ordie.” The requiem  reads, in part, “Ordie . . .

Study Links Fracking to Low Birth Weight

Jun 22, 2015
todbaker / Creative Commons

A new study has linked hydraulic fracturing with low birth weight, according to The New York Times. Scientists studied almost 16,000 live births in southwest Pennsylvania, categorizing mothers by their proximity to sites where fracking was taking place. The study found that babies born in high exposure areas were 34% more likely to be small for their gestational age.

The Texas Senate approved a bill this week limited municipal control over oil and gas drilling and prohibiting any city from banning fracking. The Denton ban could eventually fall if the bill is signed by the governor.

Divide in the Debate: Americans on Fracking

Apr 12, 2015

  From recent data collected by a Gallup poll, reporter Art Swift reveals that Americans are split fairly evenly on the issue of fracking for oil and natural gas.

According to Swift, "Fracking has helped contribute to a substantial increase in natural gas and oil production across the U.S., and now in other parts of the world, and is credited with helping lower its price for the average consumer."

Americans Divided on Fracking

Mar 31, 2015

From recent data collected by a Gallup Poll, reporter Art Swift reveals that Americans are split fairly evenly on the issue of fracking for oil and natural gas.

According to Swift, "Fracking has helped contribute to a substantial increase in natural gas and oil production across the U.S., and now in other parts of the world, and is credited with helping lower its price for the average consumer."

The city of Denton put a bulls eye on the friction between local control and the oil and gas industry when the city banned hydraulic fracturing last fall, Now, lawmakers are weighing in, and it looks like local control is headed for a beating report Jim Malewitz for The Texas Tribune.

Despite long-held suspicions that Oklahoma’s earthquake surge was linked to oil and gas activity, the Oklahoma Geological Survey stay silent amid pressure from oil company executives. State Seismologist Austin Holland admits “intense personal interest” from energy company executives, but says it never affected his scientific findings.

Wickipedia Creative Commons

The Sierra Club is calling on Kansas lawmakers to protect Kansans from earthquakes and pollution linked to fracking.  

The environmental group is backing two bills at the Statehouse. One would set new requirements for wells using hydraulic fracturing. The other would make drillers provide a risk pool to pay for damages caused by the industry. Until that pool is established, there would be a moratorium on new injection disposal wells in Harper and Sumner counties, where earthquake activity has been unusually high. The Sierra Club’s Joe Spease says the KCC has passed the buck to the legislature—which has shown no interest in taking action.

The Holdouts

Feb 16, 2015

Three families who took a pass on the fracking boom-- and what it cost them.

Quentin Hope

A report on water use for fracking in Texas finds that it is not the only or even the most significant contributor to the longstanding problem of water use in Texas. 

The policy brief by The Mosbacher Institute for Trade, Economics and Public Policy at Texas A&M University is based on a study that looks closely at water use in the Eagle Ford Shale formation in south Texas where fresh groundwater aquifers are overdrawn by nearly 2.5 times their recharge rate.  Hydraulic fracturing operations there make up the third largest use of groundwater, well behind irrigation, the primary use.  However, hydraulic fracturing does requires large amounts of water, roughly five million gallons, for each well.

Courtesy of UT's Cockrell School of Engineering

Fracking has unleased massive reserves of natural gas in the United States.  The environmental impact of gas is a hot topic reports KUT News.

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Scientists, regulators and technical experts from the energy industry met in Oklahoma recently.  They discussed how earthquakes triggered by oil and gas operations should be accounted for on national seismic hazard maps reports StateImpact Oklahoma.

The United States is the world's top oil producer, even ahead of Saudi Arabia. Most of the oil is accessed by fracking, and that's expensive. How will falling prices impact the drilling industry in states like Texas?

Felisa Cardona /

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has tapped reserves that were once thought unreachable.  The industry is scrambling to provide infrastructure to support the boom.  Pipelines sometimes have to cross private land.  For the pipeline companies, it’s not a simple off that has to be accepted.  Recent court cases have been awarding landowners significantly higher amounts than companies offer reported Gilad Edelman for The Texas Tribune

Increased methane levels in Texas water wells cannot be linked to nearby drilling activity according to a report released by the state’s oil and gas regulator said a recent article from StateImpact Texas

Helen Slottje / The Texas Tribune

A jury recently awarded a North Texas family $3 million dollars in damages.  The family alleged a drilling company’s activities near their home caused chronic headaches, nose-bleeds, wheezing, and other illnesses according to The Texas Tribune.

Trade Secrets are a place where oil and gas companies are allowed to keep secret the ingredients used in fracking.  Baker Hughes has decided to publically list all the chemicals used in the process, while Halliburton, a major competitor is considering it reported The Associated Press and StateImpact Oklahoma.

About a dozen attorneys general attended the first-ever conference on fracking.

Hydrochloric acid is commonly using in horizontal drilling because it’s relatively cheap, but companies are looking for safer alternatives to protect workers and the environment reported StateImpact Oklahoma

Courtesy of Carol Kwiatkowski / Colorado Public Radio

Chemicals used in gas drilling work against our endocrine system, a network of glands and cells that release hormones into our bodies.  The chemical disrupters can effect fertility, sperm counts, cause breast and prostate cancer, compromise our immune system, and even contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.  

Colorado:Election Results 2013

Nov 6, 2013
Matthew Staver /

Colorado voters said no to a tax increase that promised smaller class sizes, all-day kindergarten, and smarter education spending.  It was one of the most sweeping school-financing measures in the nation this year, according to The New York Times.  

Jim Wilson /

The University of Texas at Austin has been measuring how much methane leaks from natural gas production sites after hydraulic fracturing.  Advocates on both sides of the fracking issue have been waiting for results to back their positions according to the Texas Tribune.

Oil and Gas Production: U.S. Leads the World

Oct 9, 2013

The current domestic drilling boom has brought plenty of jobs, traffic and concerns about pollution and sustainability. It’s also put the U.S. in a position that was unimaginable a decade ago: this year, the U.S. will be the number one producer of oil and gas, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) according to State Impact Texas.

State Impact Texas

 A new study from the University of Texas shows the recent cluster of earthquakes are mostly caused by oil and gas extraction reported State Impact Texas

Cliff Frohlich is the Associate Director at UT’s Institute for Geophysics and lead author of the study. 

“The question we were looking at was, were quakes in the area linked to the disposal of hydrofracking waste?” said Frohlich. 

Is Fracking Stealing From Your Neighbors?

Jul 31, 2013

Fracking has become an industry standard, allowing access to stores of oil and gas that previously were inaccessible.  However, a State Impact Texas story poses the question,”Is fracking stealing from your neighbors?”


Injection wells are linked to earthquakes in a handful of states like: Texas, Wyoming, Arkansas, Ohio, and Colorado.  Impact Oklahoma reported the largest earthquake connected to a disposal and injection well occurred on November 2011 in Prague, Oklahoma.  However, Oklahoma has not responded with significant regulations.

When Water Burns

Jun 12, 2013

Advances in fracking and horizontal drilling make it possible to access gas and oil deposits previously out of reach.  The process has lowered energy prices, created jobs, and reduced emissions.  It could also be contaminating ground water from the Rockies of Wyoming to Pennsylvania.  It is possible, but people affected by the pollution won't talk.