Health

UPDATED: Local councils invited to secret talks with fracking companies

i Apr 4th 1 Comment by

Concerned residents have revealed that fracking licence holder, INEOS has invited parish council representatives across Ryedale and York to a private meeting next month.

Details of the meeting, on May 11th in Malton’s Milton Rooms, appear in a leaked letter seen by Frack Free Ryedale. The meeting will take place behind closed doors with the public excluded from observing or contributing to the process of consultation.

Malton, Norton, Helmsley, Pickering and Kirbymoorside town councils and 10 parish councils in Ryedale have already passed motions against fracking, as has Ryedale District Council.

Ian Conlan, of Frack Free Ryedale, says: “Even some parish councillors, who are all volunteers, will be unable to attend because they have day jobs, and the wider public are being treated with utter contempt as they are completely excluded from this sham consultation.

“The meeting looks like it is little more than a slick PR exercise. Those councillors who are able to attend need to ask the many awkward questions about the real impact of fracking on local communities that INEOS hope to avoid by excluding the wider public.

“A key element of the INEOS presentation to the meeting will be to offer 4% of revenues to land owners who are willing to have a fracking site on their land and a further 2% to communities. It is interesting to note that payments in the United States range from 12% to 21% of revenues, so INEOS is also short changing the public in their effort to bribe people to accept fracking.”

Russell Scott, Frack Free North Yorkshire says: “This isn’t the first time councils have been offered private meetings in the area: it has taken our Freedom of Information request to reveal that Pickering Town Council has already met privately with Cuadrilla at an informal un-minuted private “briefing”.

“Given that it is Third Energy that hold the licence covering Pickering, it would suggest Cuadrilla, with their dreadful record in Lancashire, is looking to take over Third Energy’s P.R. and try to hoodwink councils just as INEOS are also looking to take over sites in the area.”

Cllr Paul Andrews says: “The amount paid to communities will never compensate individual householders and property owners for the loss in the value of their properties, blighted by fracking, or for the decimation of a tourist industry that relies on our reputation for beautiful unspoilt countryside.

“It will be of no comfort if the landscape is ruined with thousands of wells, water contaminated and lives disturbed by continuous drilling. All these things have happened in other areas, and recent research has now added cancer causing chemicals to the mix.

“INEOS should be turned away just as local district, town and parish councillors have said no to Third Energy’s plans at Kirby Misperton.”

Malton resident, Dr Liz Garthwaite says: “My town council in Malton gave short shrift to Third Energy. This issue has energised ordinary people who have never got involved in politics before, because it is their health that is threatened, as is displayed in a wealth of studies.

“It is exactly those ordinary people that this company shows contempt for. Let’s show them what local democracy is made of by demonstrating outside this meeting. If the public are excluded I think there are going to be a lot of empty seats inside this building, and rather more people protesting outside it.”

UPDATE: Here’s what Friends of the Earth Scotland had to say when Ineos launched a similar “lovebomb” PR campaign in their licence areas north of the border last year.

Drumming up investment for shale oil and gas

i Oct 11th No Comments by

Click to read Bloomberg article

Stock exchanges around the world have rules for what you are allowed to tell prospective investors about how good your business plan expectations are.

Bloomberg have done an analysis of the recoverable reserves that shale oil and gas companies have told investors they have, as compared to how much reserves those same shale oil and gas companies have told the Securities and Exchange Commission they have.

As you can see from the chart, across the industry as a whole, the companies have told their investors that their reserves are five times bigger than what they have told the SEC.

No wonder investors have poured funds into this sector, expecting huge returns.

The SEC requires drillers to provide an annual accounting of how much oil and gas their properties will produce, a measurement called proved reserves, and company executives must certify that the reports are accurate. But no such rules apply to appraisals that drillers pitch to the public. Indeed, many company presentations remind investors that “publicly announced estimates are more speculative than the numbers the drillers file with the SEC.”

Nevertheless, as John Lee, a university professor who helped to write the SEC rules on reporting, puts it: “They’re running a great risk of litigation when they don’t end up producing anything like that [level of output]. If I were an ambulance-chasing lawyer, I’d get into this.”

You can read the full story on Bloomberg.

Or a very dismissive analysis of the whole situation on the more tabloid Daily Kos.

 

Strategic Analysis

i Sep 30th 2 Comments by

With the government deciding to ignore not only the evidence of its own report, but also 99% of the input to its so-called ‘consultation‘ on fracking, and fracking companies now seeming to bribe landowners with billions of pounds, it seems a good time to step back and take stock of the situation.

Where have we come from, where are we now, and what is going to happen next?

Can we really win?

Screen shot 2014-09-29 at 13.59.26

1) Stimulus:

a. David Cameron has said that he wants to go “all out” for shale gas.

b. Ryedale sits on top of one of the biggest reserves of shale gas in the world: up to ten thousand feet thick in places (nearly two miles).

c. In other places where shale gas has been extracted, the USA, Australia, the consequences have been appalling: in terms of health of humans, livestock, crops, and wildlife, and the effects on people’s livelihoods and property prices.

d. From a climate change point of view (if you believe in climate change) fracked gas is worse than coal.

2) Response:

a. Shale gas extraction so far has been carried out in places with far lower population densities than here. In the USA, densities are typically 100th of the UK average. Even at eight pads per square mile not many people live close by.

b. As frackers have moved into areas with higher population densities, like New York state, so popular resistance has grown. In places like Dryden (New York) and Bentley (Australia), Romania, Northern Ireland, Germany, France, Netherlands, people have been able successfully to hold fracking back — at least for a while.

c. Meanwhile the price of solar electricity is falling rapidly, with banks like UBS and Citibank predicting that solar will achieve “grid parity (even in the UK)” by around 2020. And whether you believe in the worsening effects of climate change or not, the movements for fossil fuel divestment are growing.

3) What next?

a. So, despite all the evidence of harms, and the opinion of the vast majority of the British people, some people in government seem to be set on fracking.

b. And despite some some setbacks in the planning system, the fracking companies are continuing to press ahead.

c. But their approach is very much ‘softly softly’. Seismic surveys and planning applications are “not for fracking”… until they are. They seem to be trying to slip things through ‘under the radar’. And now they are trying to use money to change our opinions.

d. Why? Why are they behaving like this? If fracking is so good for us, why aren’t they showing us the facts (to contradict our facts)? And if the government is behind it, why aren’t the fracking companies simply charging forward full steam ahead?

e. The only thing that makes sense is because they know we can win. They know the harms, and they know we can win.

f. Across the UK there are now over 300 groups against fracking, up from zero just two years ago.

4) Conclusions

a. The fracking companies know we can win. It won’t be an easy fight, because billions of pounds are at stake. But we can and will win.

b. For them, that is ok. Because fracking is just a game. The Bowland shale is just another “play”. And their attitude to investors is the same as their attitude to the local people on the ground.

c. Fracking has been described as a ponzi scheme. (The first investors in make a lot of money. The last investors in lose everything.) The bankers don’t care about them, any more than they care about the people who live nearby.

d. The banks’ don’t risk their own money — they risk the money of other investors, and they take their cut. And once the ‘play’ is over, they move on to the next game.

e. This is why we shall win: because for the fracking companies it is just a play, but for the people on the ground fracking is about health, wealth, and quality of life.

f. It won’t be an easy win. But there are two ways to stop fracking:

— One is to remove the political will, by demonstrating how many people are against it.
— The other is to remove the financial will, by raising the costs of fracking, at the same time as the costs of other forms of energy are falling.

Pro-fracking newspaper ad banned by Advertising Standards Authority

i Sep 6th No Comments by

Anti-fracking protest in BlackpoolA newspaper advertisement by American Energy company Breitling Energy has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, the organisation that monitors standards of advertising in the UK.

A reader complained to the ASA that the claims were misleading because they exaggerated the extent of Britain’s gas shortage, the supposed benefits of fracking were not known, and Russia did not supply gas to the UK.

The ASA ruled against Breitling on all counts. It told the company it must not make its claims again and that future ads should be supported by hard evidence. Read the full article here.

Radioactive water to be pumped back into ground on North York Moors

i Aug 21st No Comments by
Gas drilling at Ebberston in the North York Moors National Park

Gas drilling at Ebberston in the North York Moors National Park

Third Energy, the same company who is behind the survey in Ryedale, is set to begin working Ebberston Moor in the North York Moors after winning permission to get rid of a vast amount of potentially radioactive waste water – that will come up with the gas – by pumping it back into the ground.

According to documents seen by The Independent on Sunday, the Environment Agency (EA)  has been warned that public water supplies could be affected. Yorkshire Water is concerned about the re-injection well which will travel through the rock from which they draw water, called the Corallian limestone aquifer. In submissions to the EA the water company said the water re-injection may “directly affect their asset”.

Russell Scott, of Frack Free Yorkshire, said: “Third Energy intends to inject via mechanical means a total of 5.88 million cubic metres of waste over a nine-year period. Third Energy’s suggestion this process will not have any negative impacts on the integrity of the well casing protecting our drinking water from the injected waste is simply ridiculous.”

Read the full article here.

Fracking company is Barclays Bank

i Jul 31st 2 Comments by

“Barclays Bank is backing the search for shale gas in Yorkshire and could fund fracking in the area as early as next year [ie 2014!, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.” (Nov. 2013)

Click to read article

 

“Third Energy, which is 97pc-owned by Barclays Natural Resource Investments, a private equity arm of the bank, took shale rock samples while drilling in Kirby Misperton, Ryedale, this summer and is now analysing their potential.” (more…)