Kansas Sierra Club looks for solutions after Hutchinson earthquake

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – A Kansas environmental group said the Hutchinson earthquake is just another example of the increasing trend of stronger earthquakes in the state.

The Kansas Sierra Club lobbies to lawmakers on all issues that could affect the environment. It said something needs to be done about the earthquakes.

The United States Geological Survey shows that the number of magnitude 3.0 or greater earthquakes in the central part of the country has jumped to more than 300 in 2017. The average used to be 25 from 1973-2008.

The Sierra Club points to the oil and gas industry with fracking and injecting water underground.

“If these are man-made earthquakes and they’re caused by an industry or industries, then we need to do something about it, because Kansans, whether it’s their homes and businesses, are feeling these earthquakes, and property’s getting damaged, and taxpayers having to pick up the bill,” said Zack Pistora, legislative director for the Kansas Sierra Club.

The U.S.G.S. said fracking and wastewater removal can be linked to earthquakes, but it’s not always the case.

Pistora said the group will continue to work throughout the legislative session for stronger restrictions to prevent earthquakes.

“These are issues that Kansans need protection on,” Pistora said.

He said the Sierra Club has introduced bills in the past that would address these issues that haven’t gotten the attention he believes they deserve.

Restrictions could focus on the location of fracking and the amount that would be allowed. They could come from the Kansas Corporation Commission.

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