AUSTIN (KXAN) – After dozens of earthquakes rattled homes in North Texas, some families came to Austin to air their concerns directly to the state’s main energy regulator.
Earthquakes used to be uncommon in the region, but nearly 20 have hit the town of Azle in November alone. Many worry the earthquakes are connected to the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, used in oil and gas drilling nearby.
But the Texas Railroad Commissioners, who oversee the state’s oil and gas industry, weren’t convinced. Homeowners say the earthquakes have damaged their homes and brought sinkholes to their backyards.
“How can you inject thousands of gallons of water at a time into the ground with thousands of pounds of pressure and not have an earthquake,” said 11-year-old Robert Caney.
The town’s residents want the fracking to stop, or to at least slow down, but many felt their message fell on deaf ears.
“I don’t think we got anywhere,” said Shirley Roth. “I don’t think we’re going to have any help.”
“They’re going to continue to deflect and delay,” said Sharon Wilson, “and not take any action.”
After hearing one complaint after another, commissioners said they weren’t convinced there was a connection between waste water injections and earthquakes, only agreeing to hire a seismologist to do more research.
“We don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring,” Roth added. “We could have a big catastrophe in our hands.”