Azle-area residents vow action in wake of earthquake swarm

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by TODD UNGER

Bio | Email | Follow: @toddWFAA8

WFAA

Posted on January 13, 2014 at 10:55 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 14 at 1:12 AM

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AZLE — The group was at least 300 strong, and they say it is only going to get bigger the longer the earthquakes continue.

At a spirited community meeting inside the Azle Community Center on Monday night, hundreds showed up to find out more about the tremors that started rattling their community a few months ago.

Nearly everyone in attendance blamed the drilling and gas wells that have become common in and around the town just northwest of Fort Worth.

"There is no question what is causing it," said John McGee, who has lives in the area and says fracking is the only reasonable explanation. "We never had them before. Never."

Oil and gas industry watchdog groups led a panel discussion on ways citizens can mobilize and demand action from the regulatory body overseeing the drilling process, the Texas Railroad Commission.

After a heated town hall meeting earlier this month, where commission staff refused to directly answer questions from citizens, the RRC announced it would hire a seismologist to monitor the earthquake surge.

The commission told News 8 at that January 2 meeting it understands that people are concerned.

But at Monday night's meeting, some residents continued to vent, saying their concerns about 32 quakes in just the past few months have fallen on mostly deaf ears.

It is a feeling shared by Elaine Reynolds, who lives just beyond the town limit in Reno.

A field near her house was the site of a 3.1-magnitude earthquake on Monday morning.

"Someone knows. I just get the feeling they aren't being straight with us," she said.

Twelve people at Monday's meeting vowed to lead a local steering committee to keep the community informed.

A bus ride is being planned for next Tuesday to attend the Railroad Commission meeting in Austin.

E-mail tunger@wfaa.com

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