Oklahoma’s earthquake surge and possible links to oil and gas activity have been studied in scientific papers, discussed at heated town-hall meetings and explored regulatory hearings.
The quakes are now triggering some rumblings at the state Capitol.
About 4,000 earthquakes have shaken Oklahoma this year, data from the Oklahoma Geological Survey show. Most of the quakes have been small — roughly 10 percent were 3.0-magnitude or greater, the threshold at which seismologists say the temblors are likely perceivable.
Now-retired Col. Michael Teague commanded the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Tulsa District, which includes Lake Eufaula, a lake that illustrates the delicate balance of different water needs in Oklahoma.
Traditionally, Oklahoma’s governor has relied on advice from separate officials representing energy and the environment.
But in July, Gov. Mary Fallin moved to combine the two offices into one. “Strong energy policy is strong environmental policy,” Fallin said in a statement accompanying an executive order creating the new Secretary of Energy and Environment cabinet secretary post.
Fallin’s choice for the cabinet position — which was created by combining the vacant offices of secretaries of energy and environment — was immediately criticized by the president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, the state’s largest industry trade organization.