The Sierra Club weighed into the controversy over fracking and increased earthquake risk with a lawsuit accusing a Chesapeake Energy Corp. unit, Devon Energy Production Co. and New Dominion LLC of triggering tremors in Oklahoma and Kansas.
The environmental group said the companies’ practice of injecting liquid oil and gas waste into deep ground-wells contributed to a spike of more than 5,800 earthquakes in Oklahoma in 2015, up from an annual high of 167 in the years from 1977 to 2009, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in federal court in Oklahoma City. The lawsuit, which follows more than 20 others since 2011 making similar allegations, comes after a 5.1 magnitude quake shook the region Saturday.
The companies “have contributed and continue to contribute to the increased seismicity triggered by the waste handling, transport, and disposal activities at the injection wells owned or operated by the defendants throughout the state of Oklahoma and southern Kansas,” according to the complaint.
Devon declined to comment on the complaint and officials at Chesapeake Operating and New Dominion couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. David J. Chernicky, chairman and founder of New Dominion, said the evidence tying underground wells to earthquakes is unreliable in an interview last year with Bloomberg Businessweek and expressed confidence New Dominion would prevail against an earlier lawsuit.Click here to continue the article.
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