Blanchard Residents Concerned Over Recent Rash Of Earthquakes


Wednesday, July 13th 2016, 2:11 pm
By: Dana Hertneky


Folks in Blanchard are pretty shaken up after a spike in earthquakes in the past week. 

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission said they are investigating.

Residents and city officials think the recent earthquakes could be connected to an oil well that is going up on the south part of town within city limits.

“You know when it hits because it makes that BAM sound,” explained Janine Sotomayor. 

She and her neighbors noticed the first earthquake last Thursday. Since then, the USGS said they've had nine measurable quakes in the immediate area.

“We’ve noticed a lot more, definitely. They never happen out here, never. That’s the one thing we’re spared from,” Sotomayor said.

The Blanchard city attorney said the earth started shaking on the same day the oil well started operating.

“We believe it’s one in the same,” said Blanchard City Manager Robert Floyd.

After residents started getting concerned he filed this complaint with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission asking them to investigate what's going on.

"They're the experts, they'll do all the technical review and the data and make that determination."

"We don't regard this a coincidental or normal," said Matt Skinner, spokesperson with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

Skinner said the Corporation Commission started looking into the earthquakes on Thursday. 

But the new well in Blanchard is a production well, not an Arbuckle disposal well, which is typically connected to earthquakes in Oklahoma. 

In addition, Blanchard is outside the area of interest where the Commission closely monitors disposal wells. The nearest Arbuckle disposal well is 20 miles away.

"What we are doing right now and what we are concentrating on is getting data on all oil and gas activity in the area. Be it production, disposal, completing, any phase in oil and gas activity," said Skinner. "We need to know who has been doing what and when they have been doing it."  

Meaning, this is all new territory, both literally and figuratively for the Corporation Commission and the people of Blanchard.