State reps relying on science

In the last 21/2 years, the North Texas area has been hit by more than 50 earthquakes, including two on Sunday — one north of Irving registering a magnitude of 3.2 — and another Monday in Farmers Branch.

Researchers from Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Austin published a study last month in the scientific journal Nature Communications that concluded that quakes northwest of Fort Worth in 2013 and 2014 were “most likely” related to oil and gas drilling, most notably wastewater injection wells.

Researchers told a Texas House committee Monday about their findings and, according to Star-Telegram reporter Max B. Baker, San Antonio Republican Rep. Drew Darby, chairman of the House Energy Resources Committee, seemed to favor allocating $2.5 million for a network of permanent and mobile seismometers to measure and identify seismic events.

Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas, has introduced a bill that would pay for a statewide study to analyze data from those monitors at a cost of about $1 million.

It is good to see legislators prepared to allow science to drive this discussion, as Darby put it.