Saturday, 5 November 2011

Quake Up Call for Lancashire

(adapted from report on SchNews) On the same day that an anti-fracking protesters held a 'frack mob' outside the Shale Gas Environmental Summit in London organised by the Global Warming Foundation, two of the more intrepid anti-fra scaled a fracking shale gas rig in Lancashire, shutting it down.

Around 50 people showed up for the Frack Mob, most in costumes ranging from smart suits to chem suits, intent on naming and shaming the greenwash hawkers' conference.

Fracking/shale gas is being promoted as a green energy source, possibly because that's the colour of the flames that come out of the water supply in fracked areas.

(The GWPF, launched by former Tory chancellor Lord Lawson and Dr Benny Peiser in 2009, argues 'fracking' and shale gas exploitation is in the country's interest)

The actions coincided with the release of a report into the consequences of shale oil extraction near Blackpool earlier in the year which were halted after earth tremors. The report, commissioned by Cuadrilla, came to the same conclusion as the rest of us - that fracking is the 'probable cause' of the 50 seismic tremors in the area around their rigs.

Mark Miller, Cuadrilla's chief executive, tried desperately to put some spin on the report, claiming that 2.1 on the ricter scale isn't all that bad. Yeah, like, the 50 earthquakes we caused were only small, so what's the big deal?

"There's a certain level of seismic activity that can occur even with a truck going past a house," he said. Er, thanks Mike. Needless to say, his assurances haven't calmed the fears of Lancashire residents who experienced the tremors and even industry commentators say that now, even if the government decides there are sufficient precautions in place to prevent fracking-induced seismic activity in the future, the use of hydraulic fracturing will remain a controversial one, notably due to concerns over drinking water contamination and the importance of moving away from fossil-fuel sources of energy.

Colin Eastman, one of the climbers at the Merseyside site last week, said: "Conventional fossil fuels have begun to run out and the system is moving towards more extreme forms of energy like fracking, tar sands, and deep water drilling. The move towards 'extreme energy' is literally scrapping the bottom of the barrel, sucking the last most difficult to reach fossil fuels from the planet at a time when we should be rapidly reducing our consumption altogether and looking for sustainable alternatives.

"In the UK fracking for shale gas is planned alongside, not instead of, extraction of conventional fossil fuels like coal."

There are plans afoot for another 800 fracking rigs in the UK. Plenty of work for Frack Off (www.frack-off.org.uk) to be getting on with.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the one hand, our politicians want us to accept a seismically destabilising fracking operation, for the sake of having a UK based fossil fuel resource.

On the other, they want us to have two new nuclear power stations and a spent fuel store just a stone's throw away. Joined up thinking? No. Basically if you frack now, you can't nuke later. End of.