Gov. Fallin Declares State Of Emergency For Pawnee County After Quake

<p>Gov. Mary Fallin says staff with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management is headed to the Pawnee area following Saturday morning's 5.6 magnitude earthquake.</p>

Saturday, September 3rd 2016, 9:54 am

By: News 9

Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for Pawnee County after a 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled the state. 

Saturday morning's earthquake was felt in several states and was the strongest the state has experienced since November 2011 when a 5.6-magnitude earthquake happened in Lincoln County.

Fallin released the following statement:

I’m glad to hear no one was seriously hurt in today’s earthquake and damage appears to be limited. This emergency declaration will start the process to helping individuals, families and businesses impacted by the earthquakes and serves as a precursor to requesting any necessary assistance.

"I appreciate the quick response by the Department of Emergency Management and Department of Transportation to assess damage of the affected area and to ensure our state highway and turnpike bridges are safe. And I applaud the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the state agency tasked with regulating the oil and gas industry, in taking swift action by ordering all Arbuckle disposal wells within a 725-square-mile area of today’s earthquake to shut down and working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has sole jurisdiction over disposal wells in nearby Osage County.

"Information on the earthquake is still being collected, and will be reviewed by my coordinating council on seismic activity chaired by Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague, as we continue to move forward to make our state safe.

Shortly after the earthquake, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management staff headed to the Pawnee area following. The quake was centered in Pawnee and residents there report damaged homes and businesses. 

Staff have been assessing damages and assisting victims with their needs. 

ODOT crews inspected 180 bridges and have deemed all bridges on the state highway and turnpike system to be safe for travel. It is ODOT's policy to inspect state highway bridges after an earthquake of 4.7 magnitude or higher within a 30-mile radius of the epicenter. 

Minor, cosmetic damage were noted on two bridges but are also deemed safe and are open for travel.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission said its seismicity team examined details from the quake and decided to contact Arbuckle disposal well operators to shut down wells in 725 square miles of the 5.6-magnitude earthquake. A total of 37 wells under the commission's jurisdiction will be affected.

Wells within five miles of the epicenter will shut down completely within seven days. Wells within 10 miles of the quake's epicenter will shut down completely within 10 days, Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said.

The corporation commission is working with the Environmental Protection Agency in what should be done with the Osage County disposal wells. 


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