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OK. earthquakes prompt well cutbacks

Posted at 12:53 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-16 14:34:28-05

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Oklahoma oil-and-gas regulators are making their most far-reaching directive yet in response to the spike in earthquakes in the state by asking the operators of nearly 250 injection wells to reduce the amount of wastewater they inject underground.

The Oklahoma Corporation Commission released a plan Tuesday that covers more than 5,200 square miles in northwest Oklahoma. It calls for a reduction of more than 500,000 barrels of wastewater daily, or about 40 percent less than previous levels.

The number of earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or greater has skyrocket in Oklahoma, from a few dozen in 2012 to more than 900 last year. Scientists have linked the quakes to the underground disposal of wastewater from oil-and-gas production.

A 5.1-magnitude quake hit the area Saturday, the third largest in state history.

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