Sen. Griffin calls for unified, measured response to quake

Sen. Griffin calls for unified, measured response to quake

As the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) and federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) work to together following the recent 5.6 earthquake near Pawnee, State Sen. AJ Griffin said the response must be tempered, unified and science-based. Saturday’s earthquake was the same magnitude as a 2011 quake near Prague, the largest recorded in state history.

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The EPA has jurisdiction over wells operating on Osage Nation lands, while OCC has jurisdiction over all others. According to the Corporation Commission, it’s Oil and Gas Division (OGCD) has issued a mandatory directive to shut down all Arbuckle disposal wells within a 725 square mile area of the epicenter of the quake near Pawnee. The area includes 211 square miles of Osage County, which is outside of OGCD jurisdiction. OGCD is working with the EPA, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in Osage County. The EPA has confirmed there are 17 Arbuckle disposal wells in the 211 square mile area under EPA jurisdiction, and that all the wells are being shut down

“I’ve been in communication with the Corporation Commission and will continue to monitor their efforts in conjunction with the EPA to determine how best to proceed after Saturday’s quake,” said Griffin, R-Guthrie. “We’ve made significant progress this past year resulting in decreasing both the frequency and size of quakes. It’s a result of taking a thorough, comprehensive, research-based approach. This cooperative effort between state and federal agencies must proceed in that manner.”

According to the United States Geological Survey, as of Tuesday afternoon, there had been at least 20 aftershocks following the 5.6 quake. Gov. Mary Fallin declared a State of Emergency for Pawnee County on Saturday which remains in effect. The Executive Order authorizes state agencies to make emergency purchases and acquisitions necessary to expedite the delivery of resources to local jurisdictions.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency management reported the receipt of damage photos and information from communities throughout the state, including Catoosa, Grove, Hominy, Morrison, Owasso, Pawnee, Stillwater, Tulsa and Yukon through the OK Emergency mobile app. Oklahoma State University reported several buildings at the Stillwater campus had damage, though the buildings were inspected and deemed safe. The Pawnee Fire Department reported one injury as a result of the quake.

“I’m extremely pleased with the timely response of all local, county, state and federal entities following Saturday’s quake.  I’ve also had the opportunity to visit with constituents who absolutely agree that moving forward, it is critical to proceed methodically and in a cooperative way,” Griffin said.

For more information on the Commission’s response, and more on earthquake activity in the state, go online to:  http://earthquakes.ok.gov/ and http://www.occeweb.com/.

For more information, contact Sen. AJ Griffin, 405-521-5628, or email griffin@oksenate.gov

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