In 2015, Oklahoma experienced 857 earthquakes of a magnitude of 3.0 or greater. 30 of them were 4.0 or greater. This is more earthquakes than the rest of the United States combined. We had 106 in 2013 and 585 in 2014. From 1978 to 2008, we average two earthquakes a year that were greater than 3.0.
Meanwhile, back at the oil patch. . . The oil business has pretty got whatever its wanted from the state government since the beginning of our state government. But I saw an upper middle class woman from Edmond on tonight’s news making a statement that these earthquakes are a threat to hundreds of millions of dollars of residential and business property, and something needs to be done.
Personally I’ve been somewhat surprised at how quick the Corporation Commission has been to move to regulate underground injection wells. That suggests to me that there is real science behind their concerns because the default in Oklahoma politics has always been to not afflict the oil bidness. It’s not as if the three Corporation Commissioners are liberal Democrats.
So my 2016 prediction is that one of the interesting situations to watch is how this plays out over the coming year, especially since given the year-end wrap ups of the 2015 news, the message seem to be that as the year has progressed, the number and intensity of earthquakes has increased.