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L.A. City Council: Did Fracking Trigger the Quake?

Councilmembers are asking staff to investigate.

The Los Angeles City Council called for an investigation into whether fracking caused Monday's earthquake. Photo credit: Jonathan Oyama
The Los Angeles City Council called for an investigation into whether fracking caused Monday's earthquake. Photo credit: Jonathan Oyama

Three Los Angeles City Council members today called on city staff to investigate whether oil and natural gas drilling methods like fracking helped trigger Monday's magnitude-4.4 earthquake.

Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike Bonin introduced a motion, seconded by Councilman Bernard Parks, that would direct city staff to work with the California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources, or DOGGR, the U.S. Geological Survey and the South Coast Air Quality Management District to produce a report looking into whether a link exists between fracking and the temblor.

Seismologists said the 6:25 a.m. earthquake -- dubbed by some as the "Shamrock Shake" because it occurred on St. Patrick's Day -- was the strongest to "hit directly under the Santa Monica Mountains in the 80 years since seismic record-keeping began in the area," according to the motion.

USGS officials said there has been a dramatic rise in recent years of "noticeable earthquakes" that exceed 3.0-magnitudes in central and eastern United States, according to the motion.

The geological survey also found that some of the earthquakes happening in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas and Ohio were caused by activities related to fracking, the councilmen contend in the motion.

Monday's earthquake originated in West Los Angeles, near where active oil extraction activities have been reported, according to the motion.

Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground to free up trapped natural gas and oil deposits.

The City Council last month ordered a halt to fracking, gravel packing, acidizing and other "unconventional" drilling and well-stimulation methods that some oil companies might be using in and around Los Angeles.

City attorneys are expected to prepare an ordinance within the next two months that would impose a moratorium on these drilling methods.

Bonin and Koretz said last month that their biggest worry regarding fracking, aside from its potential impacts on the water supply, is its effects on a region teeming with earthquake faults.

--City News Service


Brentwood Resident # 49 March 19, 2014 at 07:47 PM
@ Venicebeachpress.com - You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but for the sake of clarity and to make sure your thinking is sound, I assume you think the CTA is also a "Greedy Pig". Since they are the now the single most powerful special interest in California. In 2010, the CTA had spent more than $210 million over the previous decade on political campaigning—more than any other donor in the state. In fact, the CTA outspent the pharmaceutical industry, the OIL industry, and the tobacco industry combined. The first major win came in 1988, with the passage of Proposition 98. That initiative compelled California to spend more than 40 percent of its annual budget on education in grades K–12 and community college. The spending quota eliminated schools’ incentive to get value out of every dollar: since funding was locked in, there was no need to make things run cost-effectively. Thanks to union influence on local school boards, much of the extra money—about $450 million a year—went straight into teachers’ salaries. Prop. 98’s malign effects weren't limited to education, however: by essentially making public school funding an entitlement rather than a matter of discretionary spending, it hastened California’s erosion of fiscal discipline. In recent years, estimates of mandatory spending’s share of the state’s budget have run as high as 85 percent, making it highly difficult for the legislature to confront the severe budget crises of the past decade.
Jeff Cohn March 20, 2014 at 09:57 AM
I think there could be smaller quakes that have been triggered by fracking in the Playa Del Rey / Marina Del Rey area. See DrillingMaps.com http://www.drillingmaps.com/marina-del-rey.html
Amar Rao March 20, 2014 at 04:23 PM
As Lucy Jones of Caltech observed, this is highly unlikely; the earthquake was at three times the depth of the deepest well in the VA area. Please rely on science here just as much as we would in the climate change arena.
venicebeachpress.com March 21, 2014 at 07:54 AM
Brentwood resident. Fracking not cta, stay on point. Fracking laws in ca are non existant. They do nothing but allow crazy fracking. If you take the position that destroying our planet and gutting out the ground for oil and greed is cool then so be it. I disagree and think your ignorance is your problem. And yes jerry wood, greedy pigs you dummy!
Mara T March 23, 2014 at 03:09 AM
Use wave energy then.. Oil is only still used due to corporate greed, CA clearly is ready for an alternate source.

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