The Texas Railroad Commission announced Tuesday it will hire a seismologist to study a sudden uptick in earthquakes in parts of the state with oil and gas drilling activities. The announcement comes less than a week after a heated town hall meeting in Azle, which is located about 50 miles northwest of Dallas. The area has experienced more than 30 small earthquakes in the last two months.

Residents voiced concerns over cracked walls, foundation damage and water leaks. Many attribute the seismic activity to wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. Residents were frustrated that the Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas, was doing little to address their concerns. 

The Railroad Commission has not acknowledged the link,  however recent studies by Cliff Frohlich of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas suggest the quakes are caused by the wastewater deposited deep in the ground after it’s used to extract oil and gas.

Monday, Commissioner David Porter said in a statement he decided a seismologist needed to be added to the staff to help the agency gather evidence to learn whether there is “any possible causation between oil and gas activities and seismic events.”