A few weeks back, The Oklahoman reported that yet another oil company has settled yet another earthquake-related lawsuit:
A settlement has been reached between two Oklahoma oil and natural gas companies and a Prague resident injured in the magnitude 5.7 earthquake in 2011, the woman’s lawyer confirmed Thursday.
Sandra Ladra filed the suit against Tulsa-based New Dominion LLC; Cleveland, OK-based Spess Oil Co.; and 25 other unnamed companies. Ladra asked for more than $75,000 in actual damages, plus punitive damages.
Details of the settlements were not disclosed.
From there, The Oklahoman tl;drs through the boring legal history of earthquake lawsuits and how they’ve moved through the courts. For some reason that obviously has nothing to do with the paper being a shill for the oil industry, the article didn’t mention a couple of important facts:
1. Oklahoma’s had over 250 magnitude 3.0 or higher earthquakes in 2017. Although that’s a drop from the record 887 in 2015, it’s still a little bit higher than the annual average of 1.6 from 1978 – 1999.
2. Austin Holland – the former seismologist for the Oklahoma Geological Survey – recently claimed in sworn deposition that he and other OGS scientists were reprimanded by superiors, and even threatened with frivolous lawsuits from oil companies, for not following the company line and turning a blind eye when it came to studying the Oklahoma earthquake epidemic:
Via the Poynter Law Firm website. They’re the people suing the oil companies:
Last week, Plaintiffs’ counsel took the deposition of former state seismologist Dr. Austin Holland in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Dr. Holland left Oklahoma Geological Survey (“OGS”) in July of 2015, citing increased hours and need to balance work and family.
But that was only half the story.
Dr. Holland testified that he quit his dream job in Oklahoma, because he was reprimanded for a study he published in 2015 that linked Oklahoma’s seismicity to wastewater disposal operations by the oil and gas industry.
Holland’s testimony was that he was called into his boss’s office and “reprimanded” for his work, which University of Oklahoma Dean Larry Griollot termed as “unacceptable.” In all, Dr. Holland said it was one of those conversations you don’t think you will ever have with a supervisor, and further, one you wish you had a recorder with you to tape the statements being made.
Yeah. This isn’t a huge surprise. We first learned Holland was being pushed around by our Oil Overlords back when Energy Wire published all those emails and open records in 2015. Remember that one? Continental Resources CEO (and major OU donor) Harold Hamm and Continental Resources Board Member (and OU President) David Boren invited Austin over for “coffee” to discuss his earthquake research. They did that because you know, Harold Hamm and David Boren are well regarded scientists who were curious about Holland’s work and research. They weren’t trying to intimate or influence him or shut him up.
Further, Dr. Holland testified that his OGS colleague Amberlee Darold was also reprimanded for public statements she made to media that linked Oklahoma’s earthquakes to wastewater disposal. According to Holland, Darold’s bosses at OGS ordered her to never speak to the press again…
In about March 2013, then OU scientist Katie Keranen published a study linking the Prague quakes to wastewater disposal wells operated nearby by both New Dominion and Spess Oil.
Under oath, Dr. Holland said he participated in a meeting with his Director at OGS, which also included as a participant New Dominion’s VP of Exploration, Jean Antonides. The meeting occurred just after the Keranen study was out, and Holland testified that the purpose of the meeting was to develop a plan to respond to the Keranen scientific paper.
Well, it’s all making sense now. Jean Antonides is the same dick who got News 9 to report (twice!) the absurd, non peer-reviewed “theories” that droughts, aquifers and the rising and falling water levels of Lake Arcadia were the culprit for the Oklahoma earthquakes. The millions of gallons of toxic lubricating wastewater that his company made a fortune pumping deep underneath the earth had nothing to do with it.
Holland, in sworn testimony, said New Dominion (which the Keranen study tagged as one of the culprits of the Prague quakes of November 2011) said it had a plan in place to sue Keranen and had drafted a complaint, and further, wanted to make her life “uncomfortable.”
They wanted to make her life “uncomfortable?” Uhm, isn’t that already the case for most women in the workplace?
Anyway, you can read the rest of the stuff over at the Poynter Law Firm website. It’s as infuriating as foundation damage from an man-made Oklahoma earthquake. We’ll continue to follow the story and keep you updated. If you work in the energy industry and that scares you, just read The Oklahoman. They won’t let you down.