fracking UK

25/09/2011

fracking: in short, drilling into rock layers + then injecting pressurised fluid (usually water) until the rock layer cracks open, then mixing materials such as sand or ceramics into the injected water to keep the cracks open after the injection stops. this is done to release petroleum + natural gas contained within the rock layers, which is then extracted + used for industry.
the practise has come under international scrutiny due to concerns about environmental + health safety, + has been suspended or banned in some countries.


this is what the UK government is allowing to happen in the ecologically diverse + well admired area of lancashire, + before the shouts of ‘NIMBY’ drown out this discussion, allow me a few points.

– this isn’t a wind farm, this is an oil well farm, with cuadrilla (the company with the contract) announcing the possibility of drilling thousands of gas wells in the area. these wells will leak methane + other chemicals used in the process into the ground water, contaminating the the ecosystem.

– government agencies in the UK have revealed that these operations will face minimal regulation, with no government body having overall responsibility for monitoring the industry. a similar lack of regulation in the USA has been blamed for the explosions + pollution to water supplies caused by the process, leading to mass protests across the country.

– France, Switzerland, South Africa, + several states in the USA, Canada + Australia have banned fracking, but British ministers + officials in the DECC insist no additional regulation or delay is needed.

– since exploratory work began 18 months ago, there have been only two random government inspector visits to cuadrilla’s operations.
not one environment impact survey has been conducted, nor an investigation into the possible links between the small earthquakes that took place in lancashire + the fracking operation being carried out by cuadrilla at the time.

– companies are not expected to monitor, measure, analyse or provide data on the polluted liquids that come back up the boreholes or aquifers that the areas ecosystems rely on.

– robert howarth, professor of ecology + environmental biology at cornell university, called for a moratorium on drilling:
“the best evidence indicates widespread contamination of drinking water wells within 1km of gas wells. a moratorium is necessary to step back + better study the risks to water quality, air quality, + global warming. only once such studies are completed can society begin to analyse what sort of regulation might be sufficient.”

any more shouts of ‘NIMBY’? now for the trolls.

i am not saying that fracking is responsible for causing flammable tap water + killing entire coastlines of fish. i am not telling everyone to go out + watch ‘gasland’, a hugely flawed film that is more of a fear propagator than a documentary. do not believe all the hype about fracking being the worst environmental disaster since chernobyl, it isn’t.

what i am saying is that it still isn’t environmentally safe, + is another step backward in developing real environmental + green energy production. solar technology is accelerating at an astonishing rate, so fast that experts in the field claim it will provide cheaper energy production than coal within 4 years, revised down from 10 years.

so why the frack?
go here to sign the epetition against it happening in the UK.

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