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Keep on Fracking!

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29quake-master675

Now that the USGS has determined that Oklahoma has as much chance of a damaging earthquake in the next year as California, the only solution is to frack, frack away!

I was in your state writing about water not long ago, and the big worry indeed was that a quake would wreck the aqueduct network that carries water from rainy Northern California to the south. The big worry in Oklahoma is about another liquid: oil. Scientists say you can’t stop the quakes without cutting back drastically on the amount of wastewater pumped back into the ground, but the oil and gas industry can’t pump up the good stuff without bringing a torrent of wastewater with it, and if there’s no place to put it, pumping has to stop, or at least be dialed way back.

The prospect that Oklahoma’s cash cow might have to run dry to stop the tremors all but paralyzed state officials for years. You had the odd spectacle of hopping-mad citizens demanding action even as the governor ruminated that, well, maybe something else is making the state shake. Kansas, meanwhile, deemed quakes an imminent threat to the public and ordered steep cutbacks in waste disposal a year ago.

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