The Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas operations in the state, said Tuesday it will hire a seismologist. Railroad Commissioner David Porter, who oversaw an Azle community meeting to hear concerns and complaints about a string of earthquakes in that area, proposed that the Commission's executive director, Milton Rister, add a seismologist to the agency's staff. “It is imperative that the Commission remain engaged and involved in gathering more evidence and data into any possible causation between oil and gas activities and seismic events. Commission rules and regulations must be based on sound science and proven facts. In order to do so, I propose the Commission hire an in-house seismologist,” Porter told a Tuesday meeting of the agency in Austin, according to a news release by the agency.
According to that release, "the seismologist’s duties will include coordinating with other academic experts studying seismic events in Texas; obtain, study and interpret various forms of data to evaluate seismic activity associated with known faults and historic and/or ongoing oil and gas exploration and production activities; lead efforts to conduct research as well as internally integrate oil and gas science with seismic science; coordinate communications and information gathering with stakeholders; review, analyze, interpret and comment on technical data from seismic data sources, computer models and digital maps; and develop recommendations and action plans." Whew. The agency will conduct a national search for candidates.
-- Jim Fuquay