Pa. regulators link fracking with Lawrence County earthquakes

The quakes, all too weak to be felt by humans, were recorded last April in Lawrence County

FILE - In this June 25, 2012 file photo, a crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa. The Obama administration is requiring companies that drill for oil and natural gas on federal lands to disclose chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing operations. A final rule released Friday also updates requirements for well construction and disposal of water and other fluids used in fracking, a drilling method that has prompted an ongoing boom in natural gas production. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)
FILE - In this June 25, 2012 file photo, a crew works on a gas drilling rig at a well site for shale based natural gas in Zelienople, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WKBN/AP) – Pennsylvania environmental regulators say there’s a likely correlation between a natural gas company’s fracking operation and a series of minor earthquakes in Lawrence County last year.

The state’s Department of Environmental Protection revealed its findings Friday.

The quakes were recorded on April 25 in Lawrence County, about three-quarters of a mile from a natural gas well owned by Houston-based Hilcorp Energy Co. The quakes in Mahoning, North Beaver and Union townships were too weak to be felt by humans and no damage was reported.

Hilcorp stopped fracking at the well pad after the quakes. A Hilcorp spokesman said Friday it has no plans to resume activities there and continues to work with the state and monitor for any related concerns.

Fracking is a method to extract gas or oil from underground shale rock. It has been tied to earthquakes in neighboring Ohio and other states, but never in Pennsylvania, the nation’s No. 2 natural gas-producing state.

The DEP says recommendations were made to Hilcorp to notify them within 10 minutes of any recorded seismic activity nearby. The DEP said they’re monitoring the situation closely and taking the issue seriously.

(Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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