It is true none of the tall buildings in either St. Louis or Memphis are even earthquake resistant let alone earthquake proof. To top that off they are built on alluvial soil. Then there are the bridges across the Mississippi, Nebraska and Ohio rivers.So even a moderate earthquake in the area could be its own little disaster movie.

Today (Tuesday, 11/19/2013) is Day 5 of the IDNR 45 day comment period on hydraulic fracturing, aka “fracking.” 
We’re asking for a little something extra from you today.  In addition to making today’s comment, which is about fracking-induced earthquakes (see below), will you also sign a petition that would allow Johnson County–which is in the heart of the New Madrid fault zone–to assert its right to local self-government in order to ban corporate fracking?  This would be a test case for Illinois and might open the door to local county governments banning fracking.  They need signatures.  You can sign here:
Today’s comment is on Seismicity: Insufficient Protection, Two Types of Risk
Here’s what to do to make your comment today:
Comment:  In subsection (a), “Applicability”, DNR proposes that this rule apply ONLY to Class II  injection wells, not to any other.  DNR has not proposed any rules for fracking wells.  This is insufficient protection of the population in southern Illinois where citizens are at risk of a major earthquake.  Southern Illinois sits above two active seismic zones: the New Madrid and the Wabash Valley.
There are two distinct earthquake risks: (1) the risks from injection wells inducing earthquakes that would not otherwise occur and (2) the risks of substantial injuries and damages created when the toxic fracking fluid left in the ground, in pipelines, and in wells (injection and otherwise) is let loose as a result of a major earthquake.  There are NO rules establishing guidelines for stopping fracking wells in the event of earthquakes, and NO considerations for siting any wells specifically in active seismic zones.  That omission is a reckless disregard for the safety of Southern Illinois residents, their property, and the ecology of the region.
Furthermore, in light of recent studies (see below), the risk of earthquakes can extend far beyond local areas.  See:
  • http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/3072 :  A new study is the latest to tie a string of unusual earthquakes, in this case, in central Oklahoma, to the injection of wastewater deep underground. Researchers now say that the magnitude 5.7 earthquake near Prague, Okla., on Nov. 6, 2011, may also be the largest ever linked to wastewater injection. Felt as far away as Milwaukee, more than 800 miles away, the quake—the biggest ever recorded in Oklahoma–destroyed 14 homes, buckled a federal highway and left two people injured.
  • http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2013/03/26/G34045.1
  • http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=3706&from=rss#.UohRF40hRL8  “Why America’s Heartland is Earthquake Country”, United States Geological Service, September 30. 2013
  • “Enhanced Remote Earthquake Triggering at Fluid-Injection Sites in the Midwestern United States”, Nicholas J. van der Elst et al., DOI: 10.1126/science.1238948, Science 341, 164 (2013).
We would love it if you would let us know if you made a comment today!  And please feel free to call us with questions, comments, or to volunteer your time at (309) 827-9627.  Please share this with others you know and encourage them to make comments too.
In solidarity in the struggle for environmental justice,
Your friends at IPA
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510 E. Washington St. Suite 309
Bloomington, IL 61701
United States

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Go there and comment. More tomorrow.

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