Saturday, 9 November 2013

Fracking tragedy looming for the UK - and just who cares???

Fracking 'is safe... and it's coming soon' - Declares Minister Michael Fallon - report in the Daily Telegraph here:

Households “right across the South” should prepare for gas fracking to begin in their areas, a senior minister warns

Households “right across the South” should prepare for gas fracking to begin in their areas, a senior minister has warned.
Michael Fallon says that in the next few weeks, a study by the water industry will conclude that fracking will not contaminate the water supply.
He told The Telegraph that places such as Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex will become centres of the potential source of energy. The Conservative minister, who has posts at the business and energy departments, said Britain had the scope to emulate US states such as Texas in exploiting shale gas.
Mr Fallon also pledged to block wind farms, saying that only one in three sites is being approved following planning restrictions.
In other comments, he said energy bills would be “pegged back” when the Coalition cuts green levies on power next month, and that the Conservatives could fight the next election on a promise to reduce taxes for lower-paid workers by increasing the income tax threshold above £10,000.
 Mr Fallon was this week named minister of the year by The Spectator magazine because of his successful management of the Royal Mail privatisation.
He will now focus on trying to win wider acceptance for fracking.
Fears about the process are “myths” and it could provide “the most exciting home-grown source of energy we’ve seen for years”, he said. Fracking is a method of extracting small pockets of gas trapped in rocks by pumping in pressurised water. Advocates say it could produce large amounts of cheap energy, but critics fear it will cause environmental damage.
Water UK, which represents water companies, expressed fears about fracking earlier in the year and began a study.
Mr Fallon said its report will conclude that fracking is largely safe, and will say there is no risk of contamination of water supplies. The report will be part of a drive by the Government to dispel fears about shale gas, which have led to protests against energy firms considering fracking — protests backed by some Tory MPs.
The water industry study follows research from Public Health England which said last month that fracking did not pose a serious medical risk.
“There are genuine concerns, but there are also myths and we are tackling them,” Mr Fallon said.
Shale gas exploration has so far been concentrated in the North, but Mr Fallon said the South could also be in line for fracking. Next year, the British Geological Survey will publish a map of the “southern basin” of England, identifying sites most likely to be rich in shale gas.
“It’s right across the South we’re talking about: Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, into Kent,” said Mr Fallon, the MP for Sevenoaks. Ministers have reduced the regulatory barriers to fracking, clearing the way for the industry to spread across the country, he said, adding: “There is shale in the Midlands too.”
Mr Fallon said he had discussed fracking recently with Rick Perry, the governor of Texas. He admitted that the state had little in common with the Home Counties, but said: “He was telling me about the number of new businesses that shale had brought to Texas — technology companies, energy companies, lots of new jobs.
“There are differences, but the potential is there and we should check it out.” 

We comment as follows:

a. We wonder just what has persuaded the Water Supply Industry to change its mind. Massive evidence to the contrary is widely available in spite of the embargo on EPA reports out of the US largely resulting from the continued sidestepping of the Clean Water Drinking Act first introduced by Bush/Cheney & Co. We wonder if the Industry is still as concerned as it seemed to be just six months ago about the massive quantities of clean water required. We understand that supplies are to be sold to the frackers at a lower rate than to domestic consumers.

b. Wiltshire, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex. Cameron has told MPs to ignore the legitimate concerns of voters in these areas.

c. Wind farms. The 'Greenest Government Ever' is now effectively blocking the exploration of renewable sources ( having already exhibited an antipathy to the solar industry ) whilst fully supporting its chums in the fossil fuel industry. Cutting green levies on power next month is just one more sign. As ever, closer and closer to the American model.

d. Fallon named 'Minister of the Year'!  First of all by The Spectator - so no surprises there and then for his 'successful management' of the Royal Mail privatization. Hardly a measure of competence we would have thought. 

e. 'Focus on trying to win wider acceptance for fracking'? What? By steamrollering it through no doubt.

f. The myth of 'myths'! The largely ignorant/indifferent UK populace will easily be convinced.

g. Mr Fallon said that the UK Water Report concludes that fracking is 'largely safe'. Bizaare. At least, bizaare to anyone who takes the trouble to spend even 30 minutes doing serious internet research. 

h. WHO are Public Health England we wonder? 'Fracking does not pose a serious medical risk'?!!! Just what was the basis of their research we wonder?

j. 'Ministers have reduced the regulatory barriers to fracking'. Ah, but we though that it would only be carried out with 'adequate regulations in place'. Which applies?

k. 'There are differences ( between Texas and the UK )'. Well yes, minister there surely are!

l. Jobs - lots of them. The bulk of them temporary and those at the well head  assuredly unhealthy.


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