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Texas Railroad Commission Clears Oil And Gas Company Of Causing Earthquakes

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Doualy Xaykaothao
/
KERA News
Several earthquakes have rattled Azle, Reno and other areas northwest of Fort Worth. Other earthquakes have been recorded in and around Irving.

The regulatory agency overseeing Texas' oil and gas industry says a series of small earthquakes in North Texas likely wasn't caused by drilling operations by an Exxon Mobil subsidiary.

The preliminary findings mark the first decision by the Texas Railroad Commission since the agency was authorized to consider whether injection wells cause earthquakes. The wells store briny wastewater from hydraulic fracturing.

The commission ordered hearings after a Southern Methodist University study suggested that wells operated by Exxon Mobil subsidiary XTO Energy and another company were responsible for earthquakes that shook Reno, Texas, in 2013 and 2014. The companies denied any link.

The commission's report contradicts the study, though commission investigators also say there isn't enough evidence to show the earthquakes were naturally occurring.

Parties have 15 days to respond.

Learn more about the SMU study from KERA News.