AUSTIN (AP) — The Texas Railroad Commission has amended rules for disposal well operators amid concerns that high-pressure injections can trigger earthquakes.
As of Nov. 17, disposal well operators must research U.S. Geological Survey data for a history of earthquakes within 100 square miles of a proposed well site before applying for a permit.
The commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, can also modify or rescind a well permit if scientists determine a well is likely contributing to seismic activity.
The amendments come as states grapple with how to respond to public anxiety over the risks of disposing of vast amounts of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking.
Southern Methodist University seismologists are studying whether a disposal well in North Texas caused a series of small earthquakes earlier this year.
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