Could fracking in Ohio be causing earthquakes?

Susie Beiersdorfer holds an anti-fracking poster

Ohio state officials are looking into whether a Northeastern Ohio fracking operation could have caused a series of earthquakes in Mahoning County, which borders Pennsylvania, on Monday, according to a Columbus Dispatch news article.

On Monday, state officials ordered Hilcorp Energy, a Texas-based energy and drilling company, to shut down an active fracking operation near Lowellville after four earthquakes were felt in the area.

From The Columbus Dispatch:

“It’s an area which (before 2011) had no history of earthquakes,” said John Armbruster, a retired Columbia University geology professor who had worked with Ohio officials to monitor a recent series of earthquakes tied to a fracking-waste injection well near Youngstown.

“It looks very, very suspicious.”

The state said Monday’s earthquakes were not caused by injection wells. If they were caused by a fracking well, it would be the first such event in Ohio and maybe in the United States.

Yesterday, ODNR [Ohio Department of Natural Resources] spokesman Mark Bruce emailed a statement: “Activity will remain suspended until further notice. The decision was made out of an abundance of caution after analyzing location and magnitude data provided by U.S. Geological Services.”

PublicSource wrote about a group of residents who attempted to get a ban on fracking passed in Youngstown after a series of earthquakes hit the area in 2011 and early 2012.

Read the full story here.