Flint Hills

Brian Grimmett / Kansas News Service

Wichita — Cindy Hoedel and Scott Yeargain, who live in or near the Kansas Flint Hills, began looking into oil and gas operations near their homes as early as 2016.

The two, separately, worried about earthquakes and water quality issues that new wastewater injection wells would create.

Hoedel documented a few dozen instances where injection well permit applications didn’t follow Kansas Corporation Commission guidelines. That led to a KCC report identifying more than 1,000 similar cases.

The Symphony in the Flint Hills on Saturday canceled its signature event — an outdoor performance by the Kansas City Symphony — for the first time in the organization's 14-year history. Early morning storms caused severe damage, including flattening four tents slated for ticketing, patrons, food and art.

Ascha Lee / KMUW

The 13th annual Symphony in the Flint Hills event will take place Saturday in Butler County.

The one-day event is organized to educate people about the importance of appreciating and protecting the tallgrass prairie landscape. About 7,000 guests attend each year to enjoy barbecue, art and educational sessions throughout the afternoon before the concert. The Kansas City Symphony performs at sunset.

This year’s event will be held at Rosalia Ranch, about 15 miles east of El Dorado. It also was the site of the 2014 symphony.

Brian Grimmett / KMUW

A decade ago, Kansans felt an earthquake once every few years. Now ground tremors come regularly. One of the hardest hit areas is Harper County in the south central part of the state.

It’s no coincidence, scientists and state regulators agree, that Harper and Sumner counties are also where massive amounts of wastewater has been pumped below ground by outfits drilling for oil and natural gas.

Faces of Fracking / flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas House committee has rejected a bill that was designed to prevent earthquakes that experts say are caused by oil and gas production wastewater disposal methods.

Madeline Fox / Kansas News Service

Kansas’ energy-regulating agency will investigate nearly a decade’s worth of permits it granted to oil and gas companies after learning recently that some wells received permits without meeting certain state regulations.

The probe, announced Tuesday, will determine the number of wells approved since 2008 without the companies giving nearby residents accurate information about their rights to protest the wells.

File Photo / Kansas News Service

Kansas’ energy-regulating agency is trying to determine why permits were issued for half a dozen wastewater wells whose operators didn’t accurately inform nearby residents of their rights to protest the wells.

The deficiencies were discovered by a resident of Matfield Green in Chase County who objects to the wells, into which companies can pour hundreds or thousands of barrels of oil- and gas-related wastewater per day.

Cindy Hoedel wants the Kansas Corporation Commission to shut down the wells and make the companies in question redo the application process.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

The fight over an oil-related waste disposal well in Kansas’ Flint Hills has broadened into a campaign to protest similar wells across several counties and lobby lawmakers for regulatory changes.

Last month residents of Chase, Morris and other counties known for their rolling topography, open pastures and tallgrass ecology lost their effort to block operation of a saltwater injection well near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service/File photo

Kansas energy regulators have given the green light for an oil company to dispose of production-related wastewater in the Flint Hills — a plan that had met with resistance from residents.

Celia Llopis-Jepsen / Kansas News Service

Residents of the Flint Hills on Wednesday took a fight against an oil company to Kansas energy regulators as part of their broader battle to stem wastewater disposal in the area.

They fear that a request from Quail Oil and Gas to jettison up to 5,000 barrels a day of brine near Strong City and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve brings a risk for earthquakes or contamination of local groundwater — claims that the company disputes. 

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