Companies can face stiff penalties for contaminating water or polluting the air, but federal environmental laws don't impose any fines for causing man-made earthquakes.
Under current law, it isn't illegal to cause a man-made earthquake.
The energy industry has faced allegations that increased natural gas drilling in Texas and Ohio could be causing the more seismic activity in those areas.
A recent study by the National Research Council found hydraulic fracking rarely cause earthquakes large enough to be felt. The study did, however, find injection wells are most directly correlated with increased seismic activity.
An injection well outside of Youngstown, Ohio has been tied to more than a dozen of small earthquakes in the area. Those quakes have caused officials to change rules regarding injection wells in the state.
Companies are required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to test some proposed sites to see if injection wells could cause earthquakes, but as E&E writes, those regulations don't apply to wells connected to the nation's onshore oil and natural gas fields.
The recent study stopped short of asking for federal guidelines on man-made earthquakes or injection wells. Analysts say the report begs the question whether federal regulation is needed.
"It seems to lead to a call for some sort of federal intervention," analyst Kevin Book, managing director of the Washington D.C.-based consulting firm ClearView Energy Partners, told E&E.
What do you think? Should companies with injection wells that cause man-made earthquakes face environmental penalties or should the federal government have some sort of regulation on injection wells?