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Chicken-Fried News: Shake it

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A new map from the United States Geological Survey shows Oklahoma has as much potential for damaging earthquakes as California, thanks to all of our state’s underground natural gas and fracking wastewater tomfoolery.

But that’s not really accurate, said Gov. Mary Fallin.

“Recent declines in produced wastewater disposal in Oklahoma are not reflected in the USGS map,” Fallin said in a media release. “This gives us even a stronger base in going forward and gives state regulators further justification for what they are doing.”

She’s referring to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which started giving directions to disposal well operators several months ago — a scant five years after a 5.7-magnitude earthquake hit east of Oklahoma City.

What caused the hesitation to act? It could have been Fallin’s staff, like former communications director Alex Weintz, who discouraged people from asking the governor about earthquakes because it would be “awkward.”

Or maybe it was the use of talking points received from Devon Energy, a company that, to put it mildly, has a vested interest in hydraulic fracking and high-pressure disposal wells.

So forgive us if the governor’s claim that “Oklahoma remains committed to doing whatever is necessary to reduce seismicity in the state” rings a little bit hollow.

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