Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed that “the cause of” the spike in earthquakes in Oklahoma “is fracking.” But it’s more complicated than that.
The cause involves many factors — primarily increased wastewater disposal from all oil and gas operations, including from fracking. Other factors include Oklahoma’s geology and high oil prices.
Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, brought up the rise of earthquakes in Oklahoma during the confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who’s currently Oklahoma’s attorney general. The hearing was held by the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, which approved the nomination on Feb. 2 without any Democratic support.
Sanders, Jan. 18: Can you tell me, as I think all of us know, Oklahoma has been subjected to a record-breaking number of earthquakes. Scientists in Oklahoma — or scientists say that Oklahoma’s almost certain to have more earthquakes, with heightened risk of a large quake, probable, to endure for a decade, and that the cause of this is fracking. Can you point me, picking up on Senator Harris’ discussion with you, can you point me to any opinion that you wrote, any enforcement actions you took against the companies that were injecting waste fracking water?
We’ll get to Pruitt’s answer to Sanders’ question about enforcement actions later, but first we’ll explain what scientists know about the rise in earthquakes in Oklahoma and the causes behind it.
READ THE COMPLETE FACT CHECK ARTICLE HERE: Sanders and Pruitt Rumble Over Earthquakes