Thursday, 31 July 2014

UK - What a Pickle(s).

Eric Pickles, currently styled UK 'Communities Secretary' ( or some such nonsense ) has been charged with arbitrating final facking planning decisions in 'sensitive' areas.  No doubt the minister will 'allow' the odd application to be rejected to appease voters, but in the final analysis......................

Read more here:

UK - Farming community wakens up to fracking danger. Too late?

UK Water Boards and the farming community are ( finally! ) waking up to the very real dangers posed by fracking to human health and the environment.

Read the article here:

We warned every UK national daily newspaper of the dangers just three years ago when the fracking threat here was imminent and 'in our face'. No one wanted to know. Only Michael White at The Guardian took any notice. Ed.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Poland - Warsaw contravenes EU regs on fracking depth.

The European commission has begun legal proceedings against Poland for amending its national laws to allow shale drills at depths of up to 5,000 metres without first having assessed the potential environmental impacts, EurActiv has learned.

No danger of that happening in the UK with it's ' Best regulatory practices on the planet' claims then. Pity they recently sacked/let go up to half of all Environment Agency staff.  Hang on tho', upon reading further we find that Poland lobbied the EU on the matter in tandem with a country bearing the tag 'UK'. Perhaps we should all be concerned after all. Ed.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

UK - Daily T'graph is re-assured.

It would seem the Daily Telegraph has been re-assured by government assurances on fracking in National Parks.

Read the report here:

That surely means that we can now all relax.

On verra. Ed.

Monday, 28 July 2014

UK - One way to stop the ruination of the 'Green and Pleasant Land'.

Click the link and sign the petition if you care about the imminent despoilation of up to 60% of UK countryside:

Every little helps. You just have to care enough to make the effort. Ed.

'Living is easy with eyes closed'. John Lennon.

UK - It's All Over Now!

Idiot UK Government finalizes plans to impose fracking on complacent populace:

By the time they get of their bottoms it will be far too late ( we are not here referring to the brave souls who have been in the vanguard to date of course ).

More on this:

Drilling will be allowed in national parks in 'exceptional circumstances' but ministers retain power to veto plans

Rowena Mason, political correspondent Sunday 27 July 2014
The Guardian
Ministers will give the go-ahead on Monday for a big expansion of fracking across Britain that will allow drilling in national parks and other protected areas in "exceptional circumstances".
The government will invite firms to bid for onshore oil and gas licences for the first time in six years, with about half of the country advertised for exploration. Ministers are also clarifying the rules on when drilling can take place in national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs) and world heritage sites, following calls by environmental campaigners for an outright ban on drilling in them.
In a tightening of the guidance, the government will ask energy firms to submit an environmental statement that is "particularly comprehensive and detailed" if they want to frack on or near protected countryside, forcing them to demonstrate their understanding of local sensitivities. It will make clear that the applications "should be refused in these areas other than in exceptional circumstances and in the public interest".
In addition, Eric Pickles, the communities secretary, is likely to make a final decision on more appeals related to protected areas over the next 12 months, instead of leaving it to the planning watchdog.
The competition for licences is likely to attract significant interest from energy companies keen to explore Britain's new-found shale reserves, particularly in the Bowland basin of the north-west, a central belt of Scotland and the Weald in the south-east. It is the first time the government has offered up areas of the UK for onshore exploration since experts confirmed the scale of the UK's shale resources and protests erupted in places from Blackpool to Balcombe about the potential for environmental damage.
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, a Tory communities minister, will present the licensing round in the House of Lords , as MPs have broken up for their summer break."We recognise there are areas of outstanding landscape and scenic beauty where the environmental and heritage qualities need to be carefully balanced against the benefits of oil and gas from unconventional hydrocarbons," Lord Ahmad will say. "Proposals for such development must recognise the importance of these sites."
The licences are the first step towards exploration but firms will also have to obtain planning consent, permits from the Environment Agency and a sign-off from the Health and Safety Executive.
Over the weekend, Matthew Hancock, the Conservative energy minister, said he wanted to speed up the process so companies are able to start drilling within six months of putting in applications. He also said the guidance published on Monday would "protect Britain's great national parks and outstanding landscapes".
This promise is likely to face one of its first tests in Sussex, where a planning decision on a prospective Celtique Energie fracking site in the South Downs National Park is due within weeks. The county council has rejected a separate application from Celtique in nearby Wisborough Green, just outside the national park, because of traffic concerns, which may now be appealed against by the company and end up in the hands of Pickles.
The Conservatives in particular are facing unrest on the backbenches about the prospect of fracking in rural constituencies. The government will hope that its tightening of the rules on national parks will placate local residents, MPs and green campaigners concerned about the impact of fracking on the landscape, drinking water and environment.
But the announcement met with mixed reactions. Louise Hutchins, a Greenpeace energy campaigner, said millions of homeowners have been stripped of their right to stop companies drilling under their property and now communities will face a "fracking postcode lottery".
"The government has fired the starting gun on a reckless race for shale that could see fracking rigs go up across the British countryside, including in sensitive areas such as those covering major aquifers. Eric Pickles's supposed veto power over drilling in national parks will do nothing to quell the disquiet of fracking opponents across Britain," she said.
Hutchins also criticised the timing of the announcement, saying ministers "waited until the parliamentary recess to make their move, no doubt aware of the political headache this will cause to MPs whose constituencies will be affected".
Caroline Lucas, the Green party MP for Brighton, who was arrested for protesting against fracking in Balcombe last year, also raised concerns that there is no outright ban on fracking in protected areas.
"If this still leaves the door open to fracking in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty, it completely undermines the protective status that those areas have been given and renders it meaningless," she said. "Many campaigners have campaigned for decades to get national park status, and they are given for a reason. The idea that they could be offered up to the fracking firms is a scandal."
But Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the government's change in rhetoric on protecting the countryside would be welcomed. "The government has previously stoked opposition by giving the impression that it is committed to fracking whatever the consequence and however sensitive the location," he said. "If fracking is to happen, we need to proceed with great caution and with the highest possible safeguards."
The National Trust, which has previously campaigned for an outright ban, also had a positive reaction, saying it was "right that the government have recognised the concerns about fracking in special places like national parks and AONBs". However, it called for the new rules to be extended to other special places such as nature reserves and sites of special scientific interest.
Industry groups were pleased the government is finally licensing more areas for onshore oil and gas exploration, after ministers have repeatedly promised a fracking "revolution" that they claim could reduce energy bills and boost economic activity. While there has been a huge amount of controversy about fracking, little has actually taken place on British soil beyond exploratory drilling.
The British Geological Survey last year estimated that deposits that could supply the country with gas for up to 40 years, although it is still unclear whether the cost of extracting it from the ground will be worth it.
Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said the announcement marks "another step forward on the road towards a dynamic, productive and well regulated shale industry in the UK".
"There's still a way to go before the industry really takes off, but opening up a new licensing round while increasing safeguards for the natural environment is welcome evidence of the government's commitment to maximising the benefits of a British shale industry," he said.
Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Operators Group, said it should be seen as a positive sign for investors that the industry was "one of the heaviest regulated industries in the UK and acts as an exemplar for the rest of Europe." Friends of the Earth's energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, said: "Today the risk of fracking has spread. This threat to the environment and public health could now affect millions more people.
"Those who thought that fracking would only happen in other places will now worry about it happening on their doorstep.
"Fracking is increasingly politically toxic and is far from being seen as the holy grail of energy policy by those local to proposed drilling sites."
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Friday, 25 July 2014

US - 28th June - Huge fire at Ohio frack site - Federal report lists chemicals used.

On 28th June a huge fire occurred at a frack site in Monroe County, Ohio. As result Federal investigators have insisted that contractors list the chemicals deployed on site. Good so far as it goes.

Read the report and watch the video here:

Now, imagine that happening in Sussex, or Lancashire or even Cahors. It must be stopped. Mobilisation ( as was proven in March 2011 is the only way ). Ed.

US - Lightning, fires and fracking.................

Something else fro idiot journalists to poke funn at: Except that it is not at all funny.

Coming to a venue near you soon perhaps?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

France - EDF in deal to buy US shale gas.

Read the report from The Connexion here:

No comment. Other than  - we should not be burning yet one more fossil fuel and avoiding essential investment in renewables. Ed.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

UK - First signs of common sense?

Great news. West Sussex County Council have unanimously rejected the planning application for exploratory drilling from Celtique Energy. Hopefully, other areas will follow suit.

Read the reports here:

Monday, 21 July 2014

UK - Shock horror, traffic levels due to fracking hugely understated!

Slowly it begins to dawn on UK planning officials that the claims previously made regarding logistics ( truck movements arising from earth removal, water movement and personnel and plant movement ) have been vastly understated by fracking companies. We have stated this repeatedly here and elsewhere. One frack site requires up to 500 truck movements for earth removal alone.

Read the report here:

If only everyone had not been so taken with stories of flaming tap water and mini-quakes and actually dug into the facts. Pretty well too late by now of course. Ed.

France - Pressure mounts for shale gas exploration.

Just as Germany decides to ban fracking for a minimum of 7 years citing concerns for 'human health and the environment' we are increasingly aware that groups like respected French think tank - 'Terra Nova' and now the Institut Montaigne are openly advocating the exploitation of shale gas in France. Even President Hollande, who previously declared himself completely against the process now says that "We are thinking of alternative techniques to hydraulic fracturing in order to exploit shale gas in France". Needless to say, unrest in the Middle East and now deteriorating relations ( yet again ) with Russia provide the perfect excuse. Today we read reports that EDF plans to import massive quantities of US gas which will not be cheap because our American friends want it for themselves of course.

The following article gives some idea of the current push on the part of lobbyists.

We remain totally opposed to the process for all the reasons previously stated and do not consider fracking/shale gas extraction as either 'clean' or 'transitional' it is what it is and that is a. dirty b. unhealthy and c. environmentally catastrophic. We remain confident that the French population will rest vigilant and oppose this abomination based essentially on short-term gain/greed and press for increased invstment in renewables as a matter of urgency. Ed

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

US States with fracking see huge increase in earthquake activity...............

.....notably, Oaklahoma:

Which is what happens when idiot politicians allow their pals in the O & G 'industry' to re-inject vast volumes of contaminated waste fracking water into the ground. Note that here in rural France thousands of old properties have little or no foundation thus making them extremely vulnerable should this abomination ever come to pass. Ed.

Friday, 11 July 2014

World Council of Churches withdraws fossil fuel investments.

The influential World Council of Churches representing 590 million Christians ( not including the Catholic Church ) in it's member organisations/denominations has clearly stated that it will withdraw from any investment linked to fossil fuels with immediate effect quoting the 'immorality' of such investment at a time when the activities of rich, developed countries are impacting negatively on newly emerging economies.

Read the article and watch a debate from St.Paul's Cathedral here......................

Monday, 7 July 2014

Berlin - Germany to ban fracking for a minimum of 7 years.

In stark contrast to the completely reckless disregard for human health and safety not to mention property rights of the Cameron Government, the German Government is to ban hydraulic fracturing for a 'minimum' of 7 years. Ministers cite the 'concerns of the population' and suggest that 'the protection of health and drinking water have absolute priority'.

What a contrast with the stance adopted in the UK where the government would sooner spend millions on policing legitimate protest ( £2.5 million at the Balcombe demonstrations alone ).

Read the report in The Business Spectator here:

UK - Cameron well aware of risks to drinking water...................

.................but chooses/chose to ignore Environment Agency advice in his mad rush to frack.

Read more here:

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Germany to ban fracking for a minimum of 7 years.

We got it wrong ( us?!! ). It now seems that Germans are more than a little concerned about the possible effect of harmful chemicals on their drinking water and are to introduce a moratorium on fracking set to last for a minimum of 7 years.

Read more here:

Friday, 4 July 2014

UK - Who convinced the BBC?

'Concrete and steel will ensure safety of fracking fluids'. Really? Are those who promote this type of thinking remotely aware of the failure rate of concrete casings/sleeves? Is anyone aware of the level of staff reduction in the Health and Safety Executive under the Cameron Government?

Read the report of the report here:

Lastly, has anyone in the UK taken just five minutes to research failure rates in the much vaunted US gas - fracking field? Industry figures put the failure rate at somewhere between 6% and 16%. Certainly in UK offshore operations it can be as high as 27%.

And of course look what can happen when well casings are damaged by the contractors themselves.....

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

US - Bribes and bungs and more.........................

$50,000 to every household to buy their silence. That's a lot of bung - even for the US.
What is to hide we have to ask if fracking is such a clean, regulated, safe, almost lovable practice?

Read more here: