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Azle Residents Take Their Earthquake Concerns To Austin

AZLE (CBSDFW.COM) – Dozens of Azle residents are planning a trip to the state capitol to send a message to the Texas Railroad Commission.

Organizers have named the bus trip "Shake the Ground in Austin," and they expect at least 50 people to show up for the regularly scheduled Texas Railroad Commission meeting Tuesday morning.

Some Azle residents believe there is a link between local fracking injection wells and a series of recent earthquakes. In a one-month span, about 30 minor earthquakes hit the area.

The Texas Railroad Commission regulates oil and gas operations. Earlier this month, more than 800 Parker County residents attended a meeting hosted by TRC Commissioner David Porter at Azle High School and pressed him for answers about the earthquakes. However, some residents left the meeting more angry and frustrated than when it began.

"We need to get some relief for people who are having their homes damaged by these earthquakes," said Sharon Wilson, Texas organizer for Earthworks Oil & Gas Accountability Project.

Wilson says she lived in Wise County for 15 years and witnessed the impacts of fracking up close. "It had a big impact on my life and property value."

She has helped to organize Tuesday's trip to the capital and is working with residents to get answers.

"They are worried about their air, their water. Their quality of life has been totally disrupted.  They are worried about their health," said Wilson.

Residents will attend the TRC meeting in the morning. In the afternoon, they will meet with staff members from various state lawmakers' offices. Wilson says the residents will ask to have the injections stopped.

At January's meeting in Azle, TRC Executive Director Milton Rister told CBS 11 News that the agency intends to submit the results of a full investigation to Azle's mayor. However, there was no timeline set on the length of the investigation. The TWC also said they are working with the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey to determine the cause of the quakes.

CBS11's Jason Allen will travel to Austin on Tuesday to cover this story.  Follow Jason on Twitter and look for his updates on CBS 11 News.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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