Starting the Conversation What the Fracking?

By Marianne Reid Anderson

At a dinner earlier this year with a colleague from Oklahoma, she mentioned that now, not only do they have tornados to deal with, they have earthquakes. I was shocked by this, having lived on the Pacific Rim for six years, I am very familiar with fault lines and I knew there aren’t any significant ones under the Great Plains – definitely not ones that could produce 3.0 magnitude and higher quakes.

So I asked, “Could it be all the fracking?” Fracking is a new technology that enables drillers to access pockets of oil and gas that under previous technology was considered unreachable. Although great for the economy and to help us become less dependent on foreign oil, there are negative side effects to the environment. However, this was the first that I had heard that earthquakes were a possibility.

According to my colleague, the state officials refused to admit the quakes could be caused by the fracking. Even though, as with Pennsylvania, since Oklahoma had no significant experience with quakes, the buildings and infrastructures are not engineered to withstand quakes as they are in California, and so, consequently, residents are experiencing quite a bit of damage. However, just a few weeks ago, the Oklahoma government finally acknowledged the connection.  Now the question becomes, what should they do and, likewise, what should we do here in Pennsylvania?

As always, I am very interested in your thoughts, let’s “Continue the Conversation” regarding fracking on my blog at where I also have additional information and articles for your consideration.