Following a series of earthquakes in North Texas, the City of Irving traveled to Austin this legislative session to request the state fund and study increased seismic activity in the area and helped to successfully secure $2 million to be used for that study.
Legislators originally had identified $2.5 million in the state budget to purchase equipment, but no money had been allocated to study the data collected. State Rep. Rafael Anchia and his office worked with Irving officials, including Mayor Beth Van Duyne, to press for and secure additional state assistance to fund a study. Van Duyne traveled to Austin in early May to testify before the Energy Resources Committee.
The supplemental budget approved by the Legislature included the initial $2.5 million for equipment and an additional $2 million for the study of seismic activity. The legislature designated the funding for the Bureau of Economic Geology, a research component of the University of Texas at Austin.
The legislation also includes a requirement to produce a report by December of 2016 and appointment by Gov. Greg Abbott of a technical oversight committee.
“The city feels the study and analysis of the North Texas earthquakes is a state issue, and we appreciate the state legislature concurring with that assessment and providing direction and funding to do so,” said Irving City Manager Chris Hillman. “Irving residents, along with all North Texas residents, look forward to the results of the analysis.”
Funding for the equipment and hiring of people to conduct the study is available as soon as the bill becomes law. The bill has not been signed by the governor yet. Unless it is vetoed or the governor takes action to sign the bill, it will become law on June 20.
Residents are highly encouraged to learn more about earthquakes. Below are helpful resources:
• Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) preliminary report released Feb. 6, 2015.• SMU’s report on the Azle tremors, released April 21, 2015.• U.S. Geological Survey – U.S. agency that monitors seismic activity.• Texas Railroad Commission – State agency that oversees drilling.
The City of Irving understands that residents have questions and concerns related to the earthquakes and has gathered the information to share with the community. All of these resources and more can be found online at cityofirving.org/earthquakes.