Frack Off! why fracking is a stupid idea
Fracking is a stupid idea
Extracting gas from shale a couple of miles beneath us, using atomic pressure, a cocktail of chemicals and vast amounts of water that will then become toxic waste (http://www.savecoloradofromfracking.org/harm/toxicwaste.html); some in need of disposal and the rest, remaining underground to appear somewhere, at some point in the future – is less a plan than a nightmare of a scam (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tony-ingraffea/dont-frack-illinois_b_3009249.html).
The industry claims that as ‘fracking’ happens mostly out of sight and deep down, that it is unlikely to present a risk to our ground water or vital aquifers and there is, a small element of truth to this. Note that ‘Fracking’ is just the part of the process where the shale is blasted with the water and chemical mix and this is where the devil is, in the detail; the lifecycle of a shale gas operation presents a multitude of risks (http://www.refracktion.com/index.php/why-be-concerned/well-integrity-the-crucial-issue/), not only to water but to air (http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/06/fracking-in-pennsylvania-201006), agriculture, human and animal health (http://www.propublica.org/article/science-lags-as-health-problems-emerge-near-gas-fields) and it goes on presenting risk for generations to come.
The evidence of harm (http://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.wordpress.com/the-list) is easily found, with community groups sharing their experiences from Canada, America, Australia and Europe and experts sharing research (http://www.ernstversusencana.ca & http://www.ntn.org.au/contributor-posts/meet-mariann) sufficient to see the process banned by other nations and places. Our government though is beyond insistent (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10236354/You-must-accept-fracking-for-the-good-of-the-country-David-Cameron-tells-southerners.htm), it is positively aggressive on the subject. The power of energy industry lobbyists is legendary (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/no-10s-new-energy-adviser-is-a-former-british-gas-lobbyist-8630040.html) and our government has officials who have been lobbyists, just as the industry has lobbyists who have been in government; the revolving door has never been more easily seen in motion (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-fracking-industry-bosses-at-heart-of-coalition-8707589.html).
Yet our government insists and anyone who questions the wisdom of this is labelled tree-hugger, professional protester, trouble maker, outsider or NIMBY (not in my back yard); it was recently asked if there is a quantifiable distance from a well-site that legitimises opposition without incurring either Outsider or NIMBY status; there was/is no answer.
‘Protection Camps’ first at Balcombe, West Sussex in the Summer of 2013 and currently at Barton Moss, Salford since Winter 2013 show evidence of public opposition being ignored. ‘Protectors’ ask where the PRO-FRACKING camps are, the welcoming committees that would surely come if this industry was truly expected to deliver on the over-inflated promises of cheap gas (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/fracking-unlikely-to-give-uk-cheap-gas-report-says-8582089.html), jobs(http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/tools-and-resources/exposing-the-oil-and-gas-industrys-false-jobs-promise), cash and prosperity – with only the merest, faintest hint of any potential down-side.
‘Gold Standard Regulations’ are held up as the reason we can all relax about this and not look to those suffering elsewhere (US & Australia for example) because they AREN’T the UK, so clearly don’t have those all-important, life-preserving regulations. In the past few years, UK regulatory bodies in health care, food, education and of course banking, have hardly provided cause for optimism.
Is there a reason to trust that the government is looking after the best interests of the people of the UK and that is why they are pushing so hard to get fracking? Is there a reason to trust that our regulatory bodies will be up to the task of this new industry? Is there a reason to trust the industry promises (http://www.refracktion.com/index.php/press-reaction-to-the-asa-ruling-on-cuadrillas-newsletter/ ) of safety? With around 65% of the country (http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2012/12/how-much-shale-gas-has-the-uk-got ) offering potential sites for this unconventional gas industry, it’s time to take a look at fracking (and maybe buy a tent).