Oklahoma Has a Solution to Its Sudden Rise in Earthquakes

March 8, 2016, 9:09 PM UTC
Oklahoma Earthquake Swarms Linked To Hydraulic Fracturing Within State
Photograph by J Pat Carter—Getty Images

Oklahoma has gone from having two or three earthquakes a year to more than 900 in 2015—and state officials look like they’re starting to notice.

The Corporation Commission, the state regulator that oversees the oil and gas industry, asked explorers “in a Connecticut-size patch of central Oklahoma to reduce by 40 percent the amount of oil and gas wastes they are injecting deep into the earth,” according to the New York Times.

The liquids are brought up from the earth during the oil and gas extraction process, and are then replaced at a later time. Scientists believe the process has led to the major spike in the number of 3.0-or-greater earthquakes in the state.

But with oil and gas prices so low today, it’s possible that the only way the industry can meet this goal is to pump less oil and gas, a potentially fatal move for many companies.