Fracking Will Set Off The New Madras Fault – In Illinois a whole lot of shaking going on

This whole earthquake thing has me shaking in my boots. No really. The last time New Madras went off the Mississippi River ran backwards and two mammoth lakes in Kentucky were created. There was no St. Louis or Memphis to be devastated. This is a big deal.

USED on Day 2 on 11/16/13

Topic:  Fracking and Seismic Activity (Earthquakes) 

Radio button: Part 240 : Seismicity (240.796)

Use any of the comments below related to when fracking causes earthquakes (“induced seismicity”)

NOTE: Every topic address must be entered as a separate comment.

·         COMMENT:  The Rules contain language about earthquakes and, on a broader level, they also assume that fracking indeed causes earthquakes.  The rules describe a whole series of fracking created earthquake levels of intensity. Why would the state allow any business activity that includes the real possibility of it creating earthquakes when done in an otherwise proper manner – especially in a geography known for major earthquakes?

·         COMMENT:  The rules are silent regarding broader concerns regarding how fracking created earthquakes will affect existing earthquake prone communities.  There is no mention of scientific review or study of the effect of fracking earthquakes within the Wabash Valley and New Madrid Seismic Zones.  The Illinois Emergency Management Agency identifies southern IL with its most severe earthquake zone ratings of “Destructive “and “Ruinous”.  How does IDNR justify allowing any fracking in these areas when industry best practices say there should be no fracking in seismic zones?

·         COMMENT: Rules define various intensities of fracking caused earthquakes by a color code system.  Enforcement doesn’t begin until “yellow light alert”, (a magnitude of at least 3.0 but less than 5.0).  This color coding system does not appear to be used by the federal USGS, the federal agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes. Why would IDNR use a system not used nationally?  What is the purpose of IDNR’s color coded system and what value does it add to protect citizens who might be affected by said quakes?

·         COMMENT: A fracking site can be responsible for creating up to 4 earthquakes up to a level of 4.9 magnitude WITHOUT a mandatory shut-down order by the state. A 4.9 earthquake is a serious and newsworthy event – (USGS description: “Sensation like a heavy truck striking building.  Standing motor cars rocked noticeably.”)  What justification does IDNR to allow this?

·         COMMENT: Mandatory shut-down of a site is based on a patchwork of multiple earthquakes at multiple times with varying intensity.  For example, if an earthquake caused by fracking “causes significant damage” or a magnitude of 5.0 or greater the state will shut-down the frack site.  A 5.0 earthquake is described by USGS as “Felt by all, many frightened.”   The rules use a dangerous, high threshold of earthquake intensity for a mandatory shut-down.  The fracking caused earthquake literally has to frighten people or break something before the state will step in.  What is the justification for such a high threshold?

·         COMMENT: If a shut-down order is made, the fracking company gets a hearing, the purpose of which is to “mitigate induced seismicity events near the permitted well”.  To “mitigate” is to minimize, not eliminate earthquakes caused by fracking.  As with the overall message of the earthquake rules, the intent appears to not eliminate earthquakes caused by fracking but actually permit them.  What does IDNR have to say to justify this?

·         COMMENT:  The penalty for failing to attend an earthquake hearing or continuing to frack after causing a serious, reported earthquake is $50 for a first time violation.  The rules define these violations as “Administrative penalties”.  This amount is a little less than the cost of a dinner and a movie.  Even with 4 or more earthquake violations, the maximum fine is only $500, arguably an acceptable business expense.  How is this justifiable? 

·         COMMENT:  Will fracking companies be held responsible for all monetary damages caused by earthquakes?

·         COMMENT: If the frack site continues to operate in violation of a state order regarding it creating earthquakes the minimum fine is $100.  Who is making up these ridiculously industry-slanted rules?


Go there and comment for God’s sake. More today.


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