The day after the Government voted to allow fracking under national parks and other protected areas, they announced that they have awarded 159 new PEDL licences, including most of north Yorkshire and Ryedale. You can read more about this on Drill or Drop.
In Ryedale 15 new PEDL licences were awarded to INEOS, 16 to Cuadrilla and another 3 to Third Energy. To find out who has got the new licences all over the UK, please click here.
A spokesperson for Frack Free Ryedale, said: “This is a very black day for North Yorkshire, which has now been officially designated a Fracking Sacrifice Zone in the government’s relentless but misguided dash for gas. If local people haven’t been worried about fracking up to now because it’s not happening on their doorstep, then it is time for them to wake up and smell the methane. Fracking is now on everyone’s doorstep.” You can read more reaction to the news here.
On Wednesday 17th December the notorious statutory instrument was passed by a ballot vote in the House of Commons, which means that fracking is now allowed under National Parks, AONBs, SSSIs, Ramsar Sites, World Heritage sites and all drinking water aquifers. The only catch is that the fracking companies have to set up their drilling rigs just outside the boundaries of these protected areas and drill horizontally underneath.
The vote was carried by 291 votes to 268. To find our more who voted for what, please click here.
Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake finally showed his true pro-fracking colours by voting IN FAVOUR OF the legislation, despite acknowledging recently in an interview with the Gazette and Herald that the majority of people in Ryedale are against fracking. While this was not a surprise to many people in his constituency, particularly after he was seen chairing a Third Energy PR meeting in Kirby Misperton at a time when he was still claiming he had ‘an open mind’ on the subject, this vote confirms that he is simply trying to make sure fracking happens in Ryedale, whatever his constituents think.
After the vote, Labour’s Energy Minister Lisa Nandy called for a moratorium on fracking, given the lack of evidence that it is safe and the potential threat to the environment.
Hundreds of anti-fracking campaigners outside the county hall in Preston, where the verdict was announced, reacted with delight and cheers, and people in the council chamber applauded.
The surprise rejection is for a site at Preston New Road, near Little Plumpton on the Fylde, where Cuadrilla had hoped to drill four wells and undertake exploratory fracking for shale gas. The Council had already refused permission for Cuadrilla to frack at Roseacre last week.
A major new scientific study has concluded that the controversial gas extraction technique known as fracking poses a “significant” risk to human health and British wildlife, and that an EU-wide moratorium should be implemented until widespread regulatory reform is undertaken.
The damning report by the CHEM Trust, the British charity that investigates the harm chemicals cause humans and wildlife, highlights serious shortcomings in the UK’s regulatory regime, which the report says will only get worse as the Government makes further budget cuts.
It also warns of severe risks to human health if the new Conservative government tries to fast-track fracking of shale gas across the UK. The “scale of commercial fracking” unleashed by the Government’s eagerness to exploit the technique “should not be underestimated”, it cautions.
Read more in the Independent on Sunday.
You can read the CHEM Trust report on their website.
The fracking trade organisation UKOOG have criticised the report, read the CHEM Trust’s response.
The application was originally posted on 22nd May, and it was expected that it would be validated within 48 hours. The delay is a blow to the energy company, who have had months to polish their application after a scoping opinion was posted earlier in the year.
Frack Free Ryedale are demanding to know why the application failed its validation test and has called on Third Energy to come clean on what went wrong. Chris Redston of Frack Free Ryedale commented, “The fact that NYCC were unable to validate this application after nearly three weeks of negotiation with Third Energy is unlikely to fill anyone with confidence that the company would be able to frack ‘safely and discreetly’.”
Russell Scott, of Frack Free North Yorkshire, added, “If Third Energy can’t even get the paperwork right, what chance is there that they would be able to frack safely?”
You can read a report on this in the Gazette & Herald.
The first extensive estate agents’ survey in Lancashire, Manchester and Sussex – areas in which energy firms have applied to start extracting shale gas – showed that two thirds of respondents thought house prices would suffer.
The majority of agents thought the loss of value per property could be as much as 10pc, while a handful estimated that prices could fall by up to 70pc.
Read the full report in the Telegraph.
After years of official skepticism, Oklahoma’s government has at last embraced the scientific consensus that the earthquakes now rocking the state are largely caused by the reinjection underground disposal of billions of barrels of wastewater from fracking.
The state is now having an average of 2.5 earthquakes of at least magnitude 3 every day, when it used to average only 1.5 a year.
It isn’t the fracking that actually causes the earthquakes, but the disposal of the wastewater created during the process. Fracking companies pump this dirty water into the earth in a place with deep underground faults, so it doesn’t return to the surface. The theory is that this activity on the fault line lubricates Earth’s plates where they rub against each other, allowing them to move more freely, causing more frequent earthquakes.
The largest registered a magnitude 5.7. It injured two people, destroyed 14 homes, toppled headstones, closed schools, and was felt in 17 states. It was preceded by a 4.7 foreshock the morning prior and followed by a 4.7 aftershock. The home of Joe and Mary Reneau (less than two miles from the epicentre of the quake) took six months to rebuild
UK geology is thought to be more heavily fractured and faulted than that of the US, so we would expect more earthquakes from the same amount of activity, as the limited experience in Lancashire has shown.
The recently published Medact report on the health impacts of fracking mentions that “There are now over 450 peer-reviewed publications in this
field, consisting of studies, reviews and commentaries. “
Some of the key ones are the December 2014 review of evidence by the New York State Department of Health (already published on this site), plus four other reports not seen here before:
The evidence is very, very clear.
Anybody who ignores it is either:
a) unintelligent, or
b) lying, and
c) doesn’t care about the health of the people or the other negative impacts, which are now very well known and well documented.
Eighteen senior UK health professionals have written to the British Medical Journal, saying that “The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming.”
The BMJ has published the letter.
The letter mentions a recent report by Medact (a UK-based organisation of “Health professionals for a safer, fairer & better world”).
You can read the report here.
You can read the letter to the BMJ below, and also here.
We write as concerned health professionals who seek to draw the public’s attention to the dangers associated with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and shale gas extraction in the United Kingdom, as highlighted by a recent report published by Medact.
Fracking is an inherently risky activity that produces hazardous levels of air and water pollution that can have adverse impacts on health. The heavy traffic, noise and odour that accompanies fracking, as well as the socially disruptive effects of temporary ‘boomtowns’ and the spoilage of the natural environment are additional health hazards.
Such risks would be magnified in the UK where fracking is projected to take place in closer proximity to more densely populated communities; and where there are concerns about the effectiveness of the regulatory system for onshore gas extraction.
But in addition to this, shale gas is not a clean source of energy. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas in its own right, and when burnt, produces carbon dioxide. Shale gas extraction would undermine our commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and be incompatible with global efforts to prevent global warming from exceeding two degrees centigrade.
The arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming. There are clear grounds for adopting the precautionary principle and prohibiting fracking.
Dr Robin Stott, Co-Chair, Climate and Health Council
Professor Sue Atkinson CBE, Co-Chair, Climate and Health Counci
Professor Hugh Montgomery, UCL
Professor Maya Rao OBE
Professor Martin McKee, LSHTM
Dr Clare Gerada, GP and former Chair of RGCP
Dr Christopher Birt, University of Liverpool and Christie Hospital, Manchester
Professor John Yudkin, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, UCL
Dr Sheila Adam, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer
Professor Klim McPherson, Chair of the UK Health Forum
Dr John Middleton, Vice President UKFPH
Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, KCL
Helen Gordon, Chief Executive, RPS
Dr Frank Boulton, Medact and Southampton University
Dr Sarah Walpole, Academic Clinical Fellow
Professor Allyson Pollock, QMUL
Dr Julie Hotchkiss, Acting Director of Public Health at City of a York Council
Professor Jennie Popay, Lancaster University
Competing interests: No competing interests
In 2011 the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce asked 14 leading oil and gas service companies to disclose the types and volumes of the hydraulic fracturing products they used in their fracking fluids between 2005 and 2009.
The resulting report can be accessed here.
The relevant extract from the Executive Summary reads [emphasis added]:
“Between 2005 and 2009, the 14 oil and gas service companies used more than 2,500 hydraulic fracturing products containing 750 chemicals and other components. Overall, these companies used 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products – not including water added at the well site – between 2005 and 2009.
“Some of the components used in the hydraulic fracturing products were common and generally harmless, such as salt and citric acid [though do you want these added to your groundwater?]. Some were unexpected, such as instant coffee and walnut hulls. And some were extremely toxic, such as benzene and lead.
“The most widely used chemical in hydraulic fracturing during this time period, as measured by the number of compounds containing the chemical, was methanol. Methanol, which was used in 342 hydraulic fracturing products, is a hazardous air pollutant and is on the candidate list for potential regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
“Between 2005 and 2009, the oil and gas service companies used hydraulic fracturing products containing 29 chemicals that are (1) known or possible human carcinogens, (2) regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or (3) listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. These 29 chemicals were components of more than 650 different products used in hydraulic fracturing.
“The BTEX compounds – benzene, toluene, xylene, and ethylbenzene – appeared in 60 of the hydraulic fracturing products used between 2005 and 2009. Each BTEX compound is a regulated contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act and a hazardous air pollutant under the Clean Air Act. Benzene also is a known human carcinogen. The hydraulic fracturing companies injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one BTEX chemical over the five year period.
“In many instances, the oil and gas service companies were unable to provide the Committee with a complete chemical makeup of the hydraulic fracturing fluids they used. Between 2005 and 2009, the companies used 94 million gallons of 279 products that contained at least one chemical or component that the manufacturers deemed proprietary or a trade secret. Committee staff requested that these companies disclose this proprietary information. Although some companies did provide information about these proprietary fluids, in most cases the companies stated that they did not have access to proprietary information about products they purchased “off the shelf” from chemical suppliers. In these cases, the companies are injecting fluids containing chemicals that they themselves cannot identify. “