A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research team has linked oil and
natural gas drilling operations to a series of recent earthquakes from
Alabama to the Northern Rockies.
According to the study led by USGS geophysicist William Ellsworth,
the spike in earthquakes since 2001 near oil and gas extraction
operations is “almost certainly man-made.” The research team cites
underground injection of drilling wastewater as a possible cause.
“With gasoline prices at $4 a gallon, there’s pressure to rush ahead
with drilling, but the USGS report is another piece of evidence that
shows we have to proceed carefully,” said Dusty Horwitt, senior counsel
and chief natural resources analyst at Environmental Working Group. “We
can’t afford multi-million-dollar water pollution cleanups or
earthquakes that could pose risks to homes and health.”