In 2014, Oklahoma became the most seismically active state in the lower 48 states, with more earthquakes than Calilfornia. Scientists point to the disposal of toxic fracking waste through underground injection wells as the cause for this extreme increase in seismic activity. The shift has been significant, from 1975 to 2008 Oklahoma averaged only one to three magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes per year, but from 2009 to mid-2013, this annual average grew to about 40.
Within a year, Oklahoma experienced a five-fold increase in magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes, jumping from 109 in 2013 to 585 in 2014. Seismicity continues to escalade and in 2015 there were 857 earthquakes that were 3.0 magnitude or greater.
Jamie Glazier was born and raised in Oklahoma. She moved to Edmond, Okla. for college, met her husband and never left. They were doing everything right—they took over the family sprinkler business, worked hard, raised their three kids, and after years of saving they were able to buy a brand new home.
But shortly after moving in, the earthquakes started.
That’s right—earthquakes in Oklahoma.
What Jamie and her family didn’t know when they moved into their new home was that a fracking site was right down the road. “For weeks on end you feel one earthquake a day, then there are weeks where there are five a day, or even one every hour. Sometimes you might have a lull, but you wouldn’t go more than two or three weeks without feeling the house shake.”
The earthquakes caused immense stress on Jamie. She could not escape the shaking; she worried about the safety of her children; she worried about the stability of their brand-new dream house.
Jamie tried to talk to her neighbors and local politicians about what was going on. But since most of the population in Edmond works for the oil and gas companies, she couldn’t find anyone else who was willing to speak up, and many people were even hostile towards her. “I was floored by how bad I was bullied—I was told to shut up.”
She didn’t get any more support from politicians—“they sent me an old oil and gas-backed study that claimed 100% safety of the wells.”
Eventually the company closed the site near their home and the earthquakes stopped. But one day Jamie and her husband were driving down the road and saw another well being drilled—a mile closer to their home.
Jamie says that this experience has really opened her eyes to how powerful and greedy corporations can be. She doesn’t understand how we can allow basic human needs to be pushed aside for the profit of oil and gas corporations. “It tears me apart to know what we are doing to the earth […] people have to live on this planet.”
Food & Water Watch has been working with local groups and people impacted by these frack-quakes (like Jamie) to push Governor Mary Fallin to put a moratorium on oil and gas wastewater injection wells to stop the earthquakes.
Oklahoma isn’t the only place that’s hurting because of fracking. We’re calling for a ban on fracking everywhere to put an end to frack-quakes and all of the other devastation that fracking causes. You can help by calling on President Obama to take immediate steps to protect us all from fracking.