States study fracking regs to stop earthquakes

A group of states led by Ohio is working with energy companies, government agencies and universities to research how regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, could prevent human-caused earthquakes.

The effort comes after Ohio officials concluded that five small earthquakes in eastern Ohio were probably caused by fracking and injecting fracking waste into the ground, the first time that has happened in the Northeast, The Associated Press reported.

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The initiative among the states, industry and researchers launched last month. Twelve, including Ohio, Texas and Oklahoma, sent representatives to the first meeting, the AP said.

“I think we’re being proactive in some ways,” Rick Simmons, the top oil and gas regulator in Ohio, told the AP. “We’re not waiting until something bad happens. We’re trying to figure out how to, in a regulatory sense, address this rather than waiting.”

The first meeting also included people from the Groundwater Protection Council, the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, Stanford University, the University of Southern California and the University of Texas.