A Subcommittee on Seismic Activity has been created by the House Energy Resources Committee to look at links between a recent swarm of small earthquakes around Azle and natural gas production in the area. Several researchers have established a relationship between seismic events and underground injection wells, which are used to dispose of millions of gallons of waste water. Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, will head the panel of four. In a prepared release, Crownover said: "It is our job as legislators to make sure that we address the concerns surrounding recent earthquake activity so that all Texans can sleep easy, confident that the oil and gas industry continues to operate in a safe and responsible manner."
Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter held a community meeting on the subject in Azle on Jan. 2 that left many of the more than 800 attendees dissatisfied with the lack of new information on about 30 quakes that have hit the area, the most recent this week. Following that meeting the agency, which regulates the oil and gas industry in the state, announced that it would hire a seismologist. A number of Azle area residents have vowed to attend a Railroad Commission hearing scheduled for Jan. 21 in Austin to press the agency on the matter.
-- Jim Fuquay