Increased Risk of Earthquakes in California Due to Oil Regulators

Increased Risk of Earthquakes In CaliforniaDue To Oil Regulators

I mentioned in a previous article where Oklahoma is experiencing several hundred earthquakes since oil companies established pumping stations there back in 2007. Only one earthquake was detected in 2007 and an astounding 900 magnitude 3.0 and above earthquakes were detected last year. These are man-made earthquakes caused by injecting waste water produced from extracting oil into deep into the ground causing more pressure on plates which results in an increased risk of earthquakes.

California at Risk

1994 Northridge Earthquake

1994 Northridge Earthquake Aftermath

California is in the same situation as dozens of permits were handed out by the California’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources to drill new wastewater wells since April 2015. In fact, regulators recently approved four new injection wells only 8 miles from the San Andreas Fault! Considering California is on a fault line the consequences of a few induced earthquakes can be devastating.

Another scary fact is that oil-wastewater injection volumes more than doubled in California between 1995 and 2015. An astonishing 38 billion gallons of wastewater was injected in California in 2015 alone!

Shocking Study

Map of Chance of Earthquake

Courtesy USGS

Not convinced that there is a connection between waste injection wells and human-induced earthquakes? The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently did a study that explained how 7 million people in the country work and live in areas vulnerable to oil industry induced earthquakes. That’s pretty scary considering an earthquake in such a densely populated area could cause severe damage and deaths.

Why Isn’t Anything Done?

As injections continually rise, state regulators are doing little to monitor the threat. There’s no requirements for oil companies to report daily injection pressures or anything that seismologists request. What’s more astonishing is that they allow wastewater injection wells to be so close to faults!

Seems like corporate greed is clouding the judgement of people and the proof of immediate profits blurs the potential deadly outcome in the near future.

Final Thoughts

With so many studies and proof that the industry is causing damage I hope that people in higher government positions will take a stand and implement some regulations to prevent this from happening. Even a regulation stating that you can’t create an injection well within 100 miles of a fault is better than what we have now. Although I highly doubt drilling will stop and the problem will go away, I hope there will be steps taken to limit the impact for the sake of our environment and for those living in affected areas.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think corporate America has gone too far? Should we have stricter regulations?

Comment below. I’d love to hear what you have to say.




  1. George Legere

    I like your website it is a real interesting topic and I enjoyed reading

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Thanks a lot! Yeah, it’s a controversial subject as oil companies don’t want to admit that they’re increasing the risk of earthquakes because they want to make money. But I just wanted more people to be aware about it.

  2. James W D

    What this truly shows is just how corrupt the American Government is. By allowing this to happen, it just shows that the money is flowing their way and they obviously don’t care about the ramifications of their actions.

    I live in PA and they have been Fracking here for years now and even though I live half the state away from the action, we have experienced Earthquakes too.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Yeah, it’s horrible how money seems more important than people’s lives. I guess their thinking is if it doesn’t affect them personally then who cares.
      It’s been proven time and time again that the waste water injection pumped deep into the ground has drastically increased earthquakes in the area. It’s time for people and government to take a stand and implement some regulations before a single life is lost.

  3. Jill

    I live in Kansas and have felt several of the earthquakes caused by fracking in Oklahoma. It’s really scary how nothing is being done to put a stop to this practice. It shows how much control corporate America has over our government.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Yes it does, it’s very unfortunate for the lives they are risking. Hopefully something will be done soon to prevent a major disaster.

  4. Mary Gideon

    Absolutely, I am no longer surprised to see such reports. I have been watching the earthquakes occurring in Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as all the United States. IT can happen anywhere at anytime.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Yes, people should be more aware and push government to force more strict regulations before things really get out of hand. People’s lives are in danger.
      I appreciate you helping spread the word.

  5. Mary Gideon

    Absolutely for real Great article and comments are right on every point. I totally agree. We need to stop drilling near fault lines before something extreme does happen.

    1. Andy (Post author)

      Yeah but of course in the end money talks so it’s hard to persuade businesses to give that up or get government to impose stricter regulations unless more people speak up about it.
      Things are slowly changing but at what cost? It’s already proven historically that earthquakes in Oklahoma significantly increased since 2007.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *