But what is Fracking? What are the benefits? What dangers does it pose? Fracking is a process used to extract Shale Gas deposits that involves drilling a deep well and injecting sand and fluid containing millions of gallons of water at extreme high pressure into underground shale rock formations. The resulting pressure fractures the rock releasing gas which flows up to the surface. Why is our government so keen to exploit these gas deposits? Well, as an alternative to conventional gas such as North Sea, Shale Gas is being promoted as an abundant and cheap resource and are trying to follow the United States 'Fracking Revolution' hoping for the same economic gains. Trillions of cubic meters of Shale Gas deposits are estimated to be under the UK. The promised benefits to householders is cheaper energy bills, following the price hikes in the last ten years it's welcomed news.
Jobs will be created, economic benefits coupled with reduced CO2 emissions compared to coal. So why should we follow France and Germany in banning Fracking? Most importantly we are supposed to be switching to zero-carbon renewable energy by the 2020's and increasing our dependency for fossil fuel now will push renewable, clean energy technology investment to the side-lines when we should be increasing it.
The reduction in CO2 from this 'Fracked' gas will be outweighed by the possible methane leakage from the wells. Methane is a more potent Greenhouse gas than Carbon Dioxide, bad news for our Climate Change crisis. In the U.S methane found its way into drinking water supplies and people living near Fracking sites reported flaming faucets (flames coming from water taps). The Department of Environment Protection in Dimock Pennsylvania conducted an investigation revealed that the methane contamination WAS due to the gas drilling. Cabot Oil and Gas had claimed that the methane was a natural occurrence not linked to their operations.
Risks to water quality is high and demand for water will also be significantly increased in areas of drought and limited water supplies could mean disruption to household supplies.
Technical failures and spillages are likely with no 'water-tight' plan for disposing of vast quantities of contaminated water.
Habitat disruption, fragmentation and loss from Commercial Extraction sites will be increased and significant. Some residents living near test sites have reported that their garden birds left as soon as the drilling started. With plans to begin drilling in 'Areas of Outstanding Beauty' being drawn up now the scale of developed drilling sites is a major concern for conservation Charities such as the RSPB; with more than eighty of their reserves now under threat. It has been estimated that extraction of only 10% of the Shale Gas in the beautiful Bowland district of Lancashire would mean constructing hundreds of well pads housing thousands of wells, not to mention an increase of HGV traffic by more than fifty lorries a day.
A significant increase of seismic tremors near well sites in the U.S have been reported and structural damages have also been reported by residents near U.K test sites. As we humans have only just begun to understand certain aspects of geology in the last forty years; more testing and monitoring is vital, we have a terrible track record for causing environmental disasters before we have developed technology to prevent or cure.
The government is turning a blind eye to the science, silencing residents of test areas with confidentiality clauses and instead opting for making a quick buck, even passing approval during the summer Parliament shutdown to try and slip it in without being noticed, but we can and should oppose this now especially as there are plans to pass approval for drilling under our homes and towns. At the moment it is unlawful for fracking companies to drill under our homes without permission, something our PM wants to change. Add your voice and sign a petition to join the legal block via wrongmove.org. As for cheap fuel bills for you and me...unlikey! Because we are part of the European Free Market the gas will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and UK energy suppliers will have to bid along with everyone else, we will most likely barely notice any reduction in prices. Until effective monitoring and regulations are implemented and full environment impact assessed we should all be saying 'NO FRACKING WAY' to our government. #Electric energy