Washington Post '“The question is: Is it all about profits, or do the people have any rights at all?” said Robert Freeman, 69, a retired Air Force contracting officer who is trying to rally his neighbors in Guthrie to demand a moratorium on new disposal wells.' by Lori Montgomery
'The earthquakes come nearly every day now, cracking drywall,
popping floor tiles and rattling kitchen cabinets. On Monday, three
quakes hit this historic land-rush town in 24 hours, booming and
rumbling like the end of the world.
'“After a while, you
can’t even tell what’s a pre-shock or an after-shock. The ground just
keeps moving,” said Jason Murphey, 37, a Web developer who represents
Guthrie in the state legislature. “People are so frustrated and scared.
They want to know the state is doing something.”
'What to do about the plague of earthquakes is,
however, very much an open question in Oklahoma. Last year, 567 quakes
of at least 3.0 magnitude rocked a swath of counties from the state
capital to the Kansas line, alarming a populace long accustomed to fewer
than two quakes a year.
'Scientists implicated the
oil and gas industry — in particular, the deep wastewater disposal
wells that have been linked to a dramatic increase in seismic activity
across the central United States. But in a state founded on oil wealth,
officials have been reluctant to crack down on an industry that accounts
for a third of the economy and one in five jobs.
'With seismologists warning that
the spreading earthquake swarms could trigger something far bigger and
potentially deadly, pressure is building to follow the lead of other oil
and gas-producing states and take more aggressive action.'