North Texas residents to air quake gripes with drilling regulators

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by TODD UNGER / WFAA

WFAA

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 8:44 AM

AZLE, Texas — On Tuesday, a concerned group of residents will head to Austin to voice their displeasure with a recent earthquake swarm that has hit the area.

Some people blame oil and gas drilling in the area, and hope to make that case in front of the regulatory body for the oil and gas industry, the Railroad Commission of Texas.

A bus has been chartered. The mayor of nearby Reno is expected to make the trip, too.

News 8 went through some maps and charts of the area ahead of the meeting with Billy Caldwell, a geologist who has spent more than five decades evaluating well sites in Texas for the oil and gas industry.

"They wouldn't like my report — or my theory, rather — at all," he said.

Caldwell said there are three small fault lines directly northwest of Azle. He thinks it is likely that water being injected back into the earth at fracking disposal sites is leaking into these fault planes.

"That causes slippage, and that causes the earthquakes," he said.

Since October, there have been more than 30 tremors in the area between Springtown and Azle.

Azle Mayor Alan Brundrett told News 8 last week that he expected some preliminary findings from a study of the recent activity to be available "within a couple of weeks."

Reno Mayor Lynda Stokes plans to be in Austin on Tuesday at the RRC meeting. The Commission recently said it plans to hire a seismologist to help monitor the earthquakes.

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