Did fracking cause New Castle earthquake?

By  | 

NEW CASTLE, Colo. (KKCO)-- The Grand Valley Citizens Alliance is asking the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission whether earthquakes reported near New Castle are connected to nearby injection wells.

This comes after a 3.3-magnitude earthquake hit outside New Castle Monday night, the third quake in recent months.

This quake happened after 15 earthquakes were reported in Marble, Colorado in early January, according to reports.

"We want to be able to connect the dots. We're asking the state officials and the United States Geological Survey, 'Are earthquakes being caused because of natural reasons or because of oil and gas development?'" said Leslie Robinson, the chair of the Grand Valley Citizen Alliance.

Injection wells take the waste created during fracking and bury it deep beneath the earth’s surface, but Robinson believes the waste may be causing unwanted damage to the fault lines.

"It’s possible that it reduces the friction between the faults. It greases the two geological formations so they move," said Robinson.

The National Earthquake Information Center said it's hard to tell whether an earthquake is in fact caused by human activity.

Geophysicist John Bellini said if numerous earthquakes, approximately a dozen, happen in a short period of time the center would investigate if there is a human cause, such as an injection well.

"We’re pointing to New Castle and asking, ‘What’s going on?’ to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, and could that possibly happen to Battlement Mesa?” said Robinson.

Robinson said developers are looking to build injection wells near residential areas in Battlement Mesa. She's worried the construction may cause property damage or worse, such as release hazardous waste stored in the injection wells.

"If an earthquake should cause a leak, that leak could go underground into the Colorado River," said Robinson.

A leak could then contaminate the drinking water for much of the western United States.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus