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More Restrictions On Disposal Wells To Be Imposed

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In the wake of the latest earthquakes to rattle Oklahoma, state regulators will soon put restrictions on more oil and gas operations.

Officials with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which regulate disposal wells, told News 9 that they don't expect to announce details of their latest action until Wednesday, but confirmed that it will involve shutting down some wells and reducing volume at others.

The anticipated action comes on the heels of a 4.7 magnitude earthquake that hit early Monday morning near Medford, and which was reportedly felt as far away as Iowa. There were two other quakes in significant earthquakes -- a 4.6 and a 4.1 -- in the same area last Friday.

The Corporation Commission has been criticized by some as being too reactionary in its efforts to solve the state's current problem with induced seismicity. Others, however, say the oil and gas industry is simply too important to the state's economy to just shut it down.

In the last four months, the OCC has issued a half dozen directives, aimed at curtailing earthquakes through a reduction in the amount of wastewater being injected into the Arbuckle formation. Less than two weeks ago, on November 19, the Corporation Commission announced it was ordering operations to stop at two disposal wells and volume reductions at 23 others in and around Cherokee, in Alfalfa County, following a 4.7 magnitude quake there.

Not including the wells that will be affected by the directive to be announced tomorrow, the OCC has placed restrictions on at least 325 disposal wells in 2015.

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