Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are only a few days left in our critical Mid-Year Campaign and we truly might not make it without your help.
Please join us. If you rely on independent media, support Common Dreams today. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

"If the government and the Kansas Corporation Commission care about the people of Kansas and the damages, they will order a moratorium," says environmentalist. (Photo: bill baker/flickr/cc)

Yet Another State Admits Connection Between Fracking and Earthquakes

Within the past year, scientists in Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, and now Kansas have all linked increased seismic activity with fracking operations

Deirdre Fulton

Kansas officials have for the first time publicly linked fracking activity—specifically, the injection of saltwater into wastewater wells—with a dramatic uptick in earthquakes across the state.

The number of earthquakes in Kansas went from none in 2012 to more than 120 in 2014, the Kansas Geological Survey has said. Early Monday, a spate of four earthquakes sent tremors through southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma, registering between 2.7 and 4.1 on the Richter scale.

"We can say there is a strong correlation between the disposal of saltwater and the earthquakes," Rick Miller, geophysicist and senior scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, told the Lawrence Journal-World. During fracking operations, a mixture of saltwater and chemicals is used to break apart tight underground rock formations to release oil and gas, after which the fluids are injected deep into disposal wells.

Within the past year, scientists in Ohio, Texas, and Oklahoma have all linked increased seismic activity with fracking operations.

In July 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Oklahoma Geological Survey said that "a likely contributing factor to the increase in earthquakes is triggering by wastewater injected into deep geologic formations. This phenomenon is known as injection-induced seismicity, which has been documented for nearly half a century, with new cases identified recently in Arkansas, Ohio, Texas and Colorado."

Environmentalists in Kansas expressed hope that their state with follow in the steps of New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, and numerous local governments nationwide that have banned fracking, even temporarily.

"If the government and the Kansas Corporation Commission care about the people of Kansas and the damages, they will order a moratorium," Joe Spease, chairman of the Kansas Sierra Club's fracking committee and owner of a renewable energy company, told the Journal-World. "If they only care about the profits of the oil and gas [industry], it will be business as usual. I hope that is not the case."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Democrats Lose Senate Majority as 82-Year-Old Leahy Heads for Hip Surgery

"It could be over for the Senate Dems now," said one policy expert in response. "This could mean they effectively lost their majority."

Jon Queally ·


US Supreme Court Drops Carbon Bomb on the Planet

One Democratic senator warned the high court's right-wing majority "could unleash a new era of reckless deregulation that will gut protections for all Americans and the environment."

Jake Johnson ·


'Massive Betrayal': Biden Cuts Deal With McConnell to Nominate Anti-Abortion Judge

"At a time when we are fighting to protect human rights, this is a complete slap in the face."

Jake Johnson ·


Jan. 6 Panel Subpoenas Trump White House Counsel Pat Cipollone

Noting his refusal to cooperate beyond an informal April interview, the committee's chair said that "we are left with no choice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders Pushes Back Against AIPAC Super PAC With Endorsements of Tlaib and Levin

"Once again, these extremists are pouring millions of dollars into a congressional race to try to ensure the Democratic Party advances the agenda of powerful corporations and the billionaire class."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo