Melanie Houston, May 24, 2017
This afternoon, a 3.4 magnitude earthquake struck near the Wayne National Forest in southeastern Ohio. The earthquake occurred at 12:24 p.m., with an epicenter 1.24 miles south of McArthur, in Vinton County. Details are still emerging about the event. Earthquakes in the area are uncommon, especially at such a magnitude. This is the second 3.0 magnitude or higher earthquake in southeastern Ohio since the beginning of April.
“The proximity to a cluster of injection wells raises the question of whether these wells caused this earthquake,” said Melanie Houston, Director of Oil and Gas for the Ohio Environmental Council. “The seismic risks are well-established, and inviting these risks into places like Ohio’s only national forest is plainly unacceptable.”
As of today, more than 1,800 acres have been leased for hydraulic fracturing in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest, with up to 40,000 acres available for lease. The Wayne National Forest should be off limits to hydraulic fracturing activity that can cause earthquakes, landscape changes, habitat disruption, spills, and accidents.