(NaturalNews) Hundreds of North Texas residents are demanding answers after a series of minor earthquakes rocked their area over the past several months. CBS Dallas / Fort Worth reports that dozens of folks from the small town of Azle, near Fort Worth, recently gathered down in Austin at the state capitol to push for an end to natural gas "fracking," which is believed to be the cause of the sudden and unexpected earthquake surge.
Known formally as natural gas hydraulic fracturing, fracking operations taking place throughout North Texas are said to be responsible for triggering no fewer than 30 earthquakes in the area since November. Local residents say the process, which involves injecting immense volumes of chemicals into the earth, is disrupting the earth and causing an uptick in random seismic activity throughout the region.
"No disrespect, but this isn't rocket science," testified Reno Mayor Lynda Stokes during a recent hearing before the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates and governs oil and gas operations throughout Texas. "Common sense tells you the wells are playing a big role in all this."
Similar seismic events have been reported in other parts of the country where natural gas is being blasted out of the earth as well, including in Ohio where a series of earthquakes last year was traced to activity taking place at drilling sites. Other areas being negatively affected by natural gas drilling operations include Oklahoma and Arkansas, both of which have reported unexplained earthquakes throughout the past several years.
"The correlation of increased fracking wastewater disposal and increased earthquakes is blindingly obvious," proclaimed Sharon Wilson of the Earthworks Oil and Gas Accountability Project, another hearing attendee, before the commission. "If Texas regulators want to show that they're not owned by the oil and gas industry... [they should] act now, study later."
Texans demand immediate end to natural gas fracking throughout state
While only 50 Azle residents were initially expected to attend the hearing, more than 100 showed up, according to reports. And the demands they made were concise and directed -- enact an immediate moratorium on all natural gas fracking operations throughout Texas and hold those companies that have already engaged in fracking liable for damages caused by resultant earthquakes.
"We have three things that we'd like to ask for," added Wilson on behalf of the group. "We'd like to ask for wastewater injection to halt until the science exists to prevent related earthquakes; we'd like all seismic data collected to be publicly available online and in real time; [and] we'd like those responsible for the injection wells to be held presumptively liable for damages caused by earthquakes in the area."
For the most part, damages thus far have been minimal. But local residents familiar with the fracking process say the situation will eventually spiral out of control if action is not taken now to curb the practice, especially since there are three natural fault lines that run through the earth directly northwest of Azle.
"You're putting a layer of water underneath an open hole that's causing the ground to be unstable," stated Larry Griffith of Briar before the commission. Griffith's mobile home is located about five miles from the nearest fracking well, and he recently felt what seemed like a big rig ramming into the side of his house, the impact of a fracking-induced earthquake on his home.
"Who's to say it's not going to collapse and cause tremors?"