Over the last several years, Oklahoma has experienced thousands of earthquakes which have destroyed numerous properties and shattered the lives of many of the residents who were affected. Back in September, the residents of Pawnee endured a 5.8 magnitude earthquake and then had several more less severe earthquakes since then. On November 6th, the town of Cushing experienced a 5.0 magnitude earthquake which damaged many buildings. Cushing contains one of the biggest oil hubs in the world.
On Thursday, the residents of Pawnee filed a lawsuit against 27 power and energy companies for causing the earthquakes by operating their wastewater injection wells in the area. This is the practice of injecting wastewater into disposal wells deep in the ground which is believed to be the cause of the earthquakes. The plaintiffs also say these energy companies are aware that wastewater disposal wells create earthquakes but they continue to do it anyway.
Oil & gas companies typically extract oil and gas in Oklahoma using conventional methods. When the oil comes up from the ground, contaminated water comes up along with it. So, what these energy companies do is they take the contaminated water and inject it into aquifers deep in the ground. For these companies, this is a very cheap way to get rid of the wastewater that comes up when they extract oil from the ground. The only problem is that Oklahoma has a lot of old faults in the ground and all these injections are triggering the earthquakes from them.
This situation should serve as a clear example of how energy companies do not care about the environment or saving people’s lives. They only care about making money even if it means causing earthquakes or global warming. Since these energy companies are so rich, they aren’t likely going to stop injecting wastewater into the ground even at the threat of a lawsuit.