The demonstration was timed to publicise a secret meeting between the Environment Agency and fracking company Third Energy, which took place at the above offices from 10.00 to 12.00. This was a meeting to ‘specifically discuss Halliburton’s hydraulic fracturing products, which are proposed to be submitted as part of Third Energy’s permit application for KM-8.’
KM-8 is the well at Kirby Misperton, between Malton and Pickering in Ryedale. Third Energy announced on 24/11/14 that they intend to apply for permission to frack at this well-site.
There were three aims of the demonstration:
ARE HALLIBURTON COMING TO YORKSHIRE?
Frack Free Ryedale are very concerned that Third Energy are working in conjunction with Halliburton in their preparations to frack at Kirby Misperton. Halliburton have a very dubious reputation for safety worldwide, and were fined $1.1 billion for their part in the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. As recently as June 28th, 2014, Halliburton were responsible for a devastating spill of fracking chemicals in Monroe County, Ohio, which polluted the nearby river and killed over 70,000 fish.
Halliburton were also complicit in the creation of the infamous ‘Halliburton Loophole’, which is a term used to describe the laws that stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate fracking in the USA. This loophole was inserted into the 2005 Energy Policy Act at the behest of then vice-President Dick Cheney, a former Chief Executive at Halliburton. The federal Energy Policy Act contained an exemption for gas drilling and extraction from requirements in the underground injection control (UIC) program of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Other exemptions are also present in the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
Frack Free Ryedale say: “I imagine that the people of Ryedale will not be reassured by the revelation that the company who was partly responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster is involved in Third Energy’s attempts to frack in Kirby Misperton.”
“We would like to ask Third Energy to reveal the true extent of their involvement with Halliburton. Are they simply purchasing barrels of fracking chemicals from them, and if so, what chemicals are they buying? Or will Halliburton be involved in performing the frack itself?”
WHAT’S IN THE FRACKING FLUID?
Fracking involves injecting fracking fluid, which is a mixture of water, sand and chemicals, into shale rock under very high pressure in order to fracture the rock and release the methane gas that is trapped within it. Typically 20%-40% of this fracking fluid is returned to the surface and needs to be disposed of, while the remaining fluid is left underground.
Anti-fracking groups all around the UK are very concerned about the dangers this process poses to the environment and our water supplies, in particular possible air pollution and contamination to the water supply caused by the chemicals that are added to the fracking fluid. Third Energy claim in their Residents’ Brochure, which has been distributed to landowners and some residents near the KM-8 site, that ‘The additives are commonly used substances that are non-hazardous and are typically found in most homes – many of them in food and toiletries’.
Third Energy’s Residents’ Brochure says typical frack fluids are 99% water and sand, which means the other 1% will be chemical additives. They also say in their brochure that they will need 4,000 m³ of fracking fluid for the flow test, which is the equivalent of 880,000 gallons. So this means 8,800 gallons of chemicals will be used at KM-8 – and that’s just for the flow test. These chemicals will be brought to the well by truck and stored on site. And of course, far larger quantities would be needed if the well went into commercial production.
Frack Free Ryedale are filing a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about Third Energy’s Residents’ Brochure, in particular about the claim that the fracking fluid only contained ‘non-hazardous’ chemicals. A similar complaint against fracking company Cuadrilla was upheld in 2013 (see point 11 in the ASA’s summary).
Frack Free Ryedale say: “People in Ryedale simply do not believe Third Energy’s claims that all the chemicals in their fracking fluid are ‘non-hazardous’. We call on the company to publish a full and complete list of all the chemicals they propose to use in the flow-test at Kirby Misperton.”
“Just because a chemical can be found in your home does not mean it is safe to human health. Most people are happy to keep cleaning products under their sink, but would not be happy pouring them into their kettle.”
“Frack Free Ryedale strongly dispute Third Energy’s claim that all the chemicals in the fracking fluid can be considered ‘non-hazardous’ and have repeatedly called on Third Energy to release details of the specific chemicals that they plan to put in their fracking fluid for KM-8. So far they have failed to do so.”
THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY AND ITS INVESTMENTS IN FOSSIL FUELS
On 28th December 2014 it was revealed in the Independent on Sunday that the Environment Agency’s £2.3bn pension fund invests in companies investing in fracking, incineration and nuclear power, all of which the Agency is involved in regulating.
The Environment Agency has major investments in Barclays, the bank which owns 97% of Third Energy, the company that wants to frack at Kirby Misperton.
The EA is also invested in two companies that are financially connected to fracking giant Cuadrilla, the company that has been the subject of fierce protests in Lancashire and West Sussex. The first is Centrica, which is investing £60m in Cuadrilla’s Lancashire operations and the second is Riverstone Energy, which owns 44 per cent of Cuadrilla. They also have a major stake in French company Total, which announced plans to invest $50m (£32m) in licences backed by fracking companies IGas, Dart Energy and partner Egdon Resources earlier this year.
For further details on the EA’s links with the fossil fuel industry, please read the full article in the Independent on Sunday.
Frack Free Ryedale say: “It is astonishing to discover that the government body that makes decisions regarding environmental permits for fracking companies is investing so heavily in the same companies that are applying for these permits. This appears to be the very definition of a conflict of interest.”
“We believe that there should be no further applications granted for any oil or gas company with whom the EA already has a financial stake until a full public inquiry has been carried out. The only solution is for the EA to divest completely from any company that has ties to those companies it seeks to regulate.”
“How can the public trust the Environment Agency is putting environmental concerns first when they are responsible for giving out permits for fracking fluid and radioactive waste water disposal to companies they are investing in?”
Thank you to everyone who attended the demonstration. A fantastic effort, well done!