Texas regulator maintains gas company permits despite quakes

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The regulatory agency overseeing the oil and gas industry in Texas has voted to maintain the wastewater injection permits for two companies whose North Texas wells are believed to have caused a series of small earthquakes.

The Texas Railroad Commission decided Tuesday to allow the permits.

Related: Texas regulators find no evidence for link between EnerVest disposal well and earthquakes

The commission previously ordered hearings after a university study suggested the companies’ wells were responsible for quakes that shook Reno. The study concluded that rumblings in the shallow Ellenburger formation that migrated down the fault into the deepest layer of rock triggered the quakes.

But the commission determined in September that seismicity was likely not caused by injection wells, which store briny wastewater from hydraulic fracturing.

Commission staff testified Tuesday that the study established a correlation “too small to imply a causal relationship.”