Chemicals from fracking pose “serious health risks” to pregnant women, babies, and children, a new study has claimed.
Research published in the peer-reviewed journal Reviews on Environmental Health today finds fracking operations use and create chemicals linked to birth defects, infertility, miscarriage, impaired foetal growth, low birth weight, preterm birth, and premature or delayed sexual development, among other health problems.
The report’s authors, from the non-profit Center for Environmental Health (CEH) in California and the Institute for Health and the Environment at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany, find more than 750 chemicals may be used in fracking operations, many of which are “routinely released” into the environment, posing a potential threat to nearby communities.
They state that the substances include about 130 known or suspected endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which have been linked to a range of health problems including altered reproductive function, increased incidence of breast cancer, abnormal growth and developmental delays in children, and changes in immune function.
Still, the fracking fluid that Third Energy are planning to use at Kirby Misperton only contains ‘non-hazardous’ chemicals and is completely harmless, so no need for us to worry …
Read the whole article in Business Green.
Balcombe anti-fracking campaigners have lost a High Court bid to block further exploration for oil and gas exploration in their West Sussex village. A residents’ group from Balcombe claimed the planning permission granted to energy company Cuadrilla to carry out testing was unlawful.
Permission for the site at Lower Stumble was granted in May this year. At a two-day hearing in London last month the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) argued the decision to grant planning permission was flawed by “errors of law”.
The report argues that the UK and the world could tackle climate change with energy efficiency and renewable energy alone but vested interests in the fossil fuel industry stand in the way.
There is a “clear feasibility of strategies built entirely around energy efficiency and renewable energy”, the report, published earlier this month, says. “Yet one of the main obstacles to this lies in high-profile self-fulfilling assertions to the contrary, including by authoritative policy figures.”
“In energy… the obstacles to less-favoured strategies [such as energy efficiency and renewables] are typically more commercial, institutional and cultural than they are technical. Among the most potent of these political obstructions are claims from partisan interests — such as incumbent nuclear or fossil fuel industries — that there is no alternative to their favoured innovations and policies.”
You can read more about this in The Guardian, where you can also download the full report.
The National Farmers Union have responded to the Government’s recent consultation on allowing fracking companies to drill on their land. They have been very concerned about the lack of compensation agreements, and appear to be unimpressed with the latest consultation.
Their response states: “The NFU does not believe that companies should gain access to underground land more easily if this is to the detriment of landowners. We also think that operating companies will need to consider compensation to landowners if fracking does have an impact on the open market value of their land.
They also do not agree with proposals to pay compensation only to a “relevant community body”.
You can read a summary and download a pdf of their full response on NFU online.
According to Third Energy, the first consultation will identify areas of potential environmental impact for the Environmental Risk Assessment for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). This will be followed by wider public consultation on the project, prior to submitting the planning application.
Frack Free Ryedale issued the following press statement in response to the news:
If Third Energy are really interested in being a ‘good neighbour’, they would withdraw their intention to apply for a fracking licence immediately, so that the people of Ryedale are not subjected to the highly damaging and unavoidable consequences of fracking, such as noise, light and air pollution, a huge increase in HGV traffic, and possible contamination of land and our local water supplies. We urge the whole of Ryedale to come together to fight any application to frack our community.
Local MP Anne McIntosh added: “People really will not look kindly on companies coming into Ryedale with their shaft sinkers and traffic movements to hydraulically frack at depth; potentially impacting upon tourism, leaving a legacy of spoilt landscape and ruining the countryside forever.
Lancashire County Council has recently considered the health impact of two proposed fracking sites. Gina Dowding, Lancashire’s Green Party councillor and a former NHS health promotion officer, outlines her personal view of the key health risks.
You can read her conclusions on EHN Online.
Denton, a college town on the edge of the Barnett Shale, voted by 59% to ban fracking inside the city limits, a first for any locality in Texas. Organisers said they hoped it would give a boost to anti-fracking activists in other states.
“It should send a signal to industry that if the people in Texas – where fracking was invented – can’t live with it, nobody can,” said Sharon Wilson, the Texas organiser for EarthWorks, who lives in Denton.
An energy group on Wednesday asked for an immediate injunction to keep the ban from being enforced. Tom Phillips, an attorney for the Texas Oil and Gas association, told the Associated Press the courts must “give a prompt and authoritative answer” on whether the ban violates the Texas state constitution. The Mayor Denton vowed to protect the fracking ban.
Read the full article in the Guardian.
This very interesting blog highlights the battle over water that is taking place all over the USA, as farmers and fracking companies fight over dwindling water supplies.
In a chilling reminder of what may well happen in the UK if fracking is allowed to take hold, American farmers are finding that they can’t get enough water for their crops because the fracking industry is demanding more and more fresh water. Combined with local and state-wide droughts, this is becoming a perilous situation for many farmers.
Read the full story on the Guardian US Money blog.
Living near fracking sites could affect mental health and wellbeing, according to a new report.
The report, by head of Public Health Lancashire Dr Sakti Karunanithi, looked into the potential health impacts if fracking was permitted in Preston.
The report cites a lack of public trust and confidence, stress and anxiety from the uncertainty which could lead to poor mental wellbeing and noise from drilling could have health implications for nearby residents.
Read the full article on the BBC website.
There were some excellent letters in the Gazette & Herald this week, about the Parish Council meeting, the Ian Crane talks. Check out ‘Not a democratic exercise’, ‘To frack, or not’ and in particular ‘Fracking fears’ on the Gazette & Herald letters page.
Also, please keep writing to the local and national papers about fracking to show the strength of feeling that there is about the threat of fracking in the area. Even if they don’t get printed, they really help to show the papers that it’s a topic they should be covering.