Meet The Unlikely Character At The Center Of The North Texas Earthquake Debate

Jan 24, 2014

After being rocked by more than 30 earthquakes in the last two months, a busload of North Texans headed to Austin this week. They spoke at a Texas Railroad Commission hearing, urging state officials to shut down two disposal wells, part of the oil and gas drilling business. The Parker County residents suspect those wells are playing a role in the swarm of quakes a half-hour northwest of Fort Worth. One of the group’s leaders, Reno Mayor Linda Stokes, is the subject of this week’s Friday Conversation.

Interview Highlights: Linda Stokes on...

...Her sudden public profile as an environmentalist: "I never thought I'd ever be referred to as a person in the news.... I've always been very focused on the environment. My father was a hunter. I come from a farming background. I see the damage that we do to the Earth every day, and I try to keep things as best as I can in my little corner of the world."

...The swarm of earthquakes: "Nowhere in my wildest dreams did I ever believe that here in Reno, Texas, we would actually have earthquakes.... They feel like you're living right next to the freeway and a big truck just came rumbling through your living room."

...One of her neighbors' experiences: "He lives almost across the street from one of the disposal wells, and he said about every fifth truck we seem to have an earthquake. And we had a 3.6, and when we did, it cracked all the commodes in his house."

...How she'd grade the government's response to the quakes: "C+. And I would say that because they are going through the motions. I believe they are interested, but they're not interested enough to take care of the problem."