On July 9 the California Council on Science and Technology in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, released an expanded independent scientific report on hydraulic fracturing discussing anthropogenic earthquakes. Berkeley Lab researchers found “no recorded cases of induced seismicity” in California. The report concludes that to date there have been no known seismic events linked to disposal of produced water by underground injection in California.
The findings were part of a wide-ranging research study of hydraulic fracturing commissioned by the California legislature after passage of SB 4, the state’s first fracking regulatory legislation that became effective in 2013. The research was prepared for the California Natural Resources Agency. Dr. Jens Birkholzer, the Principal Investigator and Division Deputy of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division, oversaw a group of scientists whose investigation spanned over a year and resulted in the publication of the report in three installments, the latest two of which were recently published. The report is available here.
Meanwhile, in Texas authorities continue seeking to better understand induced seismicity. Earlier this week, Dallas officials met with FEMA, officials from the U.S. Geological Survey, and SMU researchers behind a Texas earthquake study. The report of the briefing has not been released. The previously scheduled meeting was held not long after a magnitude 2.4 seismic event near the old Cowboys football stadium on Monday morning.
FEMA has been a part of the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program since Congress established NEHRP in 1977. NEHRP has led the federal government’s research, development, and implementation of policies relating to earthquake risks in conjunction with FEMA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Geological Survey. FEMA’s earthquake efforts have provided education and resources in areas that have historically experienced high levels of seismic movement.