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Environmental concerns draw crowd for screening of "Oklahoma Shakedown"

Photo courtesy Dakota Raynes
Sierra Club group discussion current earth quake swarms in Oklahoma
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Cherokee, Okla. Mayor Hawkins describes the stop earthquake movement as "a bunch of whiners” in documentary Oklahoma Shakedown

EL RENO, Okla. – Angela Spotts, resident of Stillwater County and a member of Stop Fracking Payne County moderated an Oklahoma Sierra Club meeting about man made earthquakes at the 612 community center in the Paseo district Thursday night.

Among the many topics discussed; a continued assault on the citizens of Oklahoma by the oil and gas industries practice of hydraulic fracturing – a.k.a. “fracking” - and associated wastewater injection wells.

“According to scientific projections Oklahoma will be experiencing larger earthquakes up to the 7.0 range in the future” she said.

Oklahoma Shakedown, a documentary produced last year, was shown to the group. It included interviews with Cherokee, Okla. Mayor Karen Hawkins and Oklahoma State Seismologist Austin Holland, who left his position in mid-2015. 

During a portion of the film featuring an interview with Holland, he says that scientific evidence points to there being bigger and bigger earthquakes. Holland also stated evidence that we could have an earthquake of up to 7.0.

Recall that in 2011, the catastrophic earthquake that struck Japan, leading to a tsunami and the collapse of their nuclear power generation, along with the perilous destruction of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Oklahoma's storage facilities in Cushing hold an estimated 58 million barrels of oil, and according to Dakota Raynes, organizer of Stop Fracking Oklahoma, those tanks will not stand anything over a 5.5 magnitude earthquake.

Destruction of these storage facilities would paralyze the oil infrastructure nationwide. In addition, there would be wholesale collapse of manmade structures including bridges and overpasses making transportation nearly impossible. We could be facing the next mass exodus like the Dust Bowl, according to experts.

Many residents in the earthquake swarm areas, like the one Angela lives in start to look for a way out.

Unfortunately many cannot leave due to financial, family and other obligations that prevent them from moving. Real estate prices are going to tumble according to the meetings presenters.

Stress levels for many citizens who live near this oil production is ever increasing. Angela talked about one neighbor who is a Vietnam combat veteran who says this is much worse than anything he experienced in warfare.

“This is a 24/7 assault on the people of Oklahoma!” she also quoted Oklahoma oil baron Harold Hamm as saying he is “o.k.” with collateral damage.

She went on to explain that the state is controlled by oil and gas industries that have no concern for anything but more money and more oil.

Canadian County, according to Angela Spotts, is next for intense drilling and wastewater injection.

Canadian County has been spared most of the shaking compared to those in north-central Oklahoma but she said that is soon to change. Spotts explained that as the earthquakes increase in intensity there would be no safe area in the state.

According to the USGS a magnitude 7 earthquakes blast area is up to 400 miles. It is the equivalent of 32 megatons of TNT. For a comparison the bomb dropped on Hiroshima developed .015 of a single megaton and killed up to 75 thousand humans in the initial blast.

To explain the amount of wastewater created from drilling, 40 to 80 barrels of wastewater can be recovered for every barrel of oil. Up to 4 million gallons are used to frack each well and most of the water returns to the surface as wastewater.

According to Dakota Raynes, this water is not reclaimable. It is twice as salty as seawater containing hydrocarbons along with many of the secret ingredients injected during fracking. Along with that come trace amounts of substances of all kinds including radioactive particles.

The oil industry has tried and is using a disposal method called Soil Farming. It consists of evaporating the waste into sludge then spreading over working farmland and ranch land in Oklahoma.

Many sections of central and western Oklahoma have been either contaminated with soil farming practices or are under contract to be used in this controversial process.

Spotts stresses the fact that the citizens of Oklahoma need to stand up to the lobbying forces of the oil and gas industry or face potential devastating earthquakes.

“Holding your representative accountable is the only way to make progress.” she said.

For more information about upcoming screenings of Oklahoma Shakedown: / @OKShakedownFilm on twitter or the Facebook group called Oklahoma Shakedown

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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