Just as not everybody says they believe in climate change, and some people say the Earth is flat, not everybody agrees about fracking.
As somebody with a degree in physics from Oxford University I am trained to look at the facts. And frankly I would love it if fracking were as safe and beneficial as some people say it is.
So, the announcement of a study by Stanford University was exciting to me. It offers the promise of an objective comparison of the environmental costs and benefits of fracking as compared against coal, nuclear, wind and solar energy.
Unfortunately, reading the outline, the problems start almost immediately:
“Society is certain to extract more gas and oil due to fracking,” said Stanford environmental scientist Robert Jackson, who led the new study. “The key is to reduce the environmental costs as much as possible, while making the most of the environmental benefits.”
This raises a red flag to me. Any true study would be open to the possibility of finding that fracking (or solar energy) was so dangerous that society should shut it down immediately. Surely that is what the study is trying to find out? Any ‘study’ that opens with a statement, “Society is certain to extract more gas and oil due to fracking” has already reached its conclusions before it even starts. This is not a study at all. This looks like the setup for a whitewash job.
But I keep an open mind and read on. (more…)
The letters page of the Malton Gazette & Herald is a good place to air your views and let people know what you think of fracking. There are three letters on the website this week, all of which are worth reading – click here to see them all. We have added some comments to respond to the claims of the third letter-writer, so keep scrolling down!
We would also encourage people to register online with the paper, and then you can also add comments to articles and letters.
Anti-fracking campaigners will hand in a further 3,000 objection letters to council chiefs today over applications to frack for shale gas in Lancashire.
Representatives from Frack Free Lancashire, an alliance of over 20 anti fracking campaign groups from across the county, will hand in the signed objection letters to Lancashire County Council.
It brings the Frack Free Lancashire campaign total, so far to more than 8,000. The total responses received by Lancashire County council to date, is 20,000, the group claim.
It comes days after Fylde Council announced that it would reject Cuadrilla’s two planning applications for fracking for shale gas at sites off Preston New Road near Little Plumpton, and near Roseacre in the Fylde.
Ebony Ava Johnson of Frack Free Lancashire said: “There has been phenomenal support for the campaign, which reinforces the strength of opposition against shale gas in Lancashire. People are now well aware of the risks shale gas extraction poses and will not let this go ahead at their expense.
Read the full article in the Lancashire Evening Post.
People living near a Rathlin’s exploratory gas-drilling site in West Newton, near Beverley, have complained to the Environment Agency about feeling sick from noxious smells.
“The smell is hideous, very distinctive, pungent and nauseous. It comes in waves. It started last week and has continued since. It fades in and out. The area where they are drilling is very rural and the smell drifts easily a mile away,” says Debbie Stabler, who lives 400m from the drill site near West Newton.
“Depending on the wind, it has at times reached villages like West Newton and Withernwick,” said Stabler, who with others have also complained about gas flaring and light pollution from the round-the-clock operation.
A sombre warning if we ever allow exploratory drilling in Ryedale …
Read the whole Guardian article here.
As you may know, there is a planning application for an injection well and other works at Ebberston Moor in the North York Moors National Park. If you’ve looked at the planning application, you’ll see that there are hundreds of documents and thousands of pages.
For this reason, the two authorities that are responsible for the application – the North Yorkshire County Council and the North York Moors National Park Authority – have kindly agreed to an extension of the time available for people to comment on this application, after consultation with Frack Free Ryedale and Frack Free North Yorkshire.
The deadline for comments on this application is now 24th October 2014. For written confirmation of this, please see this document, from the NYCC planning website: 140910_Extension-to-consultation-period
We have some experts looking at the application in detail and will be posting some guidelines on how best to object to this planning application as soon as we can. Watch this space!
A Yale-led study has found a greater prevalence of health symptoms reported among residents living close to natural gas wells, including those drilled by hydraulic fracturing, including a marked increase in respiratory problems and skin conditions.
The researchers conducted a random survey of 492 people in 180 households with ground-fed water wells in southwestern Pennsylvania, where natural gas extraction activity is significant. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, there were 624 active natural gas wells in the survey area. Of those, 95% produce gas via hydraulic fracturing.
Read the full article on the Yale News website.
On 25th September, Labour Councillors in York will vote on a motion for York City Council to resist planning applications for drilling for shale gas. If this motion wins the vote, it will pass onto the agenda for discussion at the next full York Council Meeting.
If passed, this motion will see York to join many local councils, including of Newcastle, Manchester and East Sussex, in declaring their opposition to unconventional oil and gas extraction. With this motion in place, drilling companies are likely to be deterred from submitting further applications for drilling or testing in and around York.
If you are a York resident, please go to the Frack Free York website for details on how to contact your councillor. And if you have friends or family that live in York, please forward them this link and ask them to contact their councillors.
The Yorkshire Post reports on the crisis facing Yorkshire as fracking companies eye up the shale rock below the hills and dales of the county. Rural campaigners have urged the Government to consider the impact of fracking on the half-a-billion-pound-a-year local tourism economy.
Jules Marley, chair of the CPRE (Campaign for Protection of Rural England) Craven branch, said: “An influx of lorries on roads – barely suited for milk trucks – would not only disrupt local farmers but compromise the tranquillity and beauty that attracts tourists to our outstanding North Yorkshire countryside.
“The hills and dales of North Yorkshire were shown to the world in the recent media coverage of the Tour de France, and we need to maintain the quality of our countryside to keep the tourists coming back and supporting our rural tourism industry.
People living near natural-gas wells were more than twice as likely to report upper-respiratory and skin problems than those farther away, says a major study Wednesday on the potential health effects of fracking.
Nearly two of every five, or 39%, of those living less than two-thirds of a mile from a well reported upper respiratory symptoms, compared to 18% living more than 2 kilometers away, according to a Yale University-led random survey of 492 people in 180 households with ground-fed water wells in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Read the whole article in USA Today.
MP for Thirsk and Malton, Anne McIntosh, chaired a special question and answer session on fracking with Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Dr Paul Leinster, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.
The session lasted about 90 minutes and can be seen in full on the BBC Parliament website and makes very interesting viewing.