Fracking: Selling The UK’s Health And Environment To The Fossil Fuel Industry.
As the world’s resources of oil and gas, that is, the easy to reach supplies, dwindle because of unsustainable consumption, the industry invents more and more extreme ways to extract these energy sources.
These extreme methods of extraction are far more environmentally damaging, extremely dangerous and very expensive. The nineteen so far companies licensed by the UK government have pushed for tax breaks and government subsidies to carry out operations, all paid for by you the tax payer and given without resistance. Like the bank bail out money and the myth spread that the world would collapse unless we propped up such greedy corporations who committed grand theft and fraud on an unimaginable scale; the government is now using your money to line the pockets of the richest corporations on earth, and without your say so, without asking or debating the subject openly, so they can carry out an operation which will inevitably only line their pockets in the long run. After all, corporations only run on self interest and profits and many of these oil and gas companies are funded and part owned by the banks that you bailed out.
Yes I am talking about “fracking”, which is upon us. A technique used to extract Shale Gas. There is nothing new about this technology; it is also used in Coal bed Methane and Underground Coal Gasification extraction. But now the oil price is so high, this highly inefficient and expensive way of extraction has supposedly become viable once more. Our government tells us, it will provide greater energy security, economic growth, jobs and that it is safe for the environment and the people.
Shale Gas is methane (natural gas), which is trapped in impermeable shale rock deep underground, unlike conventional natural gas, which is in permeable rocks, such as sandstone. The gas cannot flow through the shale, so simply drilling a well, as you would for conventional natural gas, is not enough. The shale rock must be cracked to free the gas, hence the need for hydraulic fracturing (fracking). Water in huge quantities, millions and millions of gallons, are mixed with chemicals and hydraulically forced in to the ground. Up to 2% of the total volume is mixed with chemicals and pumped in to each well, of which 50% of this mixture is not recoverable and leaks out of the system finding its way in to the water table.
It is at this point important to remember that this process is not like drilling for gas in the conventional way, where a gas field might need say, half a dozen to a dozen wells. No, Shale gas requires hundreds if not thousands of wells. Now try and imagine the quantity of chemicals and the amount of clean water being used.
The UK government would have you believe that it is in control and that everything is regulated to such an extent that we are, and the process is completely safe. As for the chemical use, right now the industry is in its infancy unlike the US where it has been going for quite some time and we can see the effects it is having on people and the environment. So far it is only small scale testing in the UK by Cuadrilla, who are not particularly forthcoming with their supply of information, but it is likely they are using the just the same chemicals as are used in the United States. Frac Focus.org
A mixture of these chemicals pumped in to the ground does not sound like a great idea especially when you work out that for one single fracking operation you need an average of (on a small test hole) 3.5 million gallons of water and if as they claim, that they only use 0.25percent chemicals and not the full 2%, it still means they would need 33,000 liters of chemicals for one fracking operation.
In the United States, there are over 2500 hydraulic fracking products available containing 750 different chemicals and other components. Some are harmless and some are not. Some are extremely toxic. It seems hard to believe that once the test holes are done and the major drill starts that the process in the UK will be different than that of the United States. There is no doubt that many more toxic chemicals will be made available when the main attraction begins and there is no single government body right now to regulate the industry which is going to be left to self regulate, there will be no one to stand in the way. Who knows how many holes will eventually be drilled across the UK, but if the oil and gas companies have their way many thousands.
But this is the tip of the iceberg, as they say. This fracking crusade is happening all over the world. It has not even started yet in the UK and we already know what the dreadful problems are associated with this industry. Its effects on the landscape and the environment, people’s health and property prices. This is a ‘get richer’ even quicker scheme for the oil and gas companies and there will be no benefit for the UK or its people. All the profits will wind their way in to the corporations’ pockets. The UK government has given so many concessions and tax breaks that they are not going to make anything out of it, unless there is something we don’t know happening under the table. The greasing of palms so to speak.
There is though something much bigger at stake here. His actions and attitude over this subject have without doubt, underlined how much our prime minister is totally uninterested in Global Warming. Has he become a global warming denier caught up in the lies that Natural gas and Nuclear are clean energies or is he in the pocket of the oil and the banking industries? Or has our government turned in to a corporation as David Cameron goes round the UK telling councils to, as he says “get on board” whilst offering them tax incentives, saying English local authorities would receive all the business rates collected from shale gas schemes – rather than the usual 50%. Councils will get to keep more money in tax revenue as well… Is this not a bribe? Why has David Cameron gone crazy over Shale Gas?
Global warming is now, undeniably, the largest problem the world faces today and in the future. James Hanson at NASA, probably the most respected climatologist in the world to day, carried out a study to find out how much CO2 in the atmosphere is too much. We now know how much is too much. It is universally accepted by governments and industry around the world, since his studies, that, and report says, “any amount greater than 350 parts per million is not compatible on the planet and that on which civilisation developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” Today the atmosphere outside is 399 ppm, and rising about 2 parts per year.
At the Copenhagen climate summit there was only one thing agreed to by all the governments that attended; and that was to not let the planets temperature rise any more than another 2 degrees. Scientists have calculated that if we stay within this 2 degrees rise, we could, and this is certainly by no means exact, pump in to the atmosphere another 565,000,000,000 (565 giga tons) of CO2 and we just might stay with the target. It is estimated though, we will have reached that threshold in 14 years, maybe less.
But the fossil fuel industry has in its reserves, still to be pumped out of the earth, in the region of 2,795 giga tons of CO2 waiting to be belched in to the atmosphere.
This is the fossil fuel companies business plan for our world. And our government, as are many others, complicit and openly supporting them in their quest to ruin our world, to pollute and destroy civilisation as they do it all for free. In-fact the invention of carbon credits has created another way for these companies to make even more money by trading in pollution and never having to do anything about it. Can you pollute for free, can small business pollute for free. No you will be fined, imprisoned, closed down. We keep paying these corporations to pollute our world while they suppress the future of green energy, which, if it had the same investment as the fossil fuel industry and there was a level playing field, could easily solve all our energy needs and sooner than you think.
So Mr Cameron you said “you are going to be the greenest government ever.” When are you going to start? When are you actually going to stop looking over your shoulder to see what others are doing and lead the world in reforming the energy situation.
Fracking can never be a solution and should be stopped before it gets going. Quite apart from its contribution towards global warming there are its effects locally, its impact on the environment, which are well documented. Leaking methane, on a huge scale, water contamination, air pollution, radioactive contamination, massive industrialisation of the landscape and earthquakes, which have already happened in the US and UK.
The Environmental Protection Agency in America cite the risk to drinking water supplies posed by wastewater carrying radioactive materials that may not be removed by conventional treatment plants, saying it is highly likely that all drinking water near to fracking sites would be extremely toxic and undrinkable. Then they decided not to investigate it because of pressure from within and the lobbying from the industry. The removal of red tape by the Obama administration, headed by Dick Cheney, put an end to any investigations that should have happened.
In the UK the same thing is happening and Cameron has removed any red tape so that the industry can get on with its business unencumbered. Added to this there is no infrastructure to support or cope with the hunt for shale gas, and no proper water treatment plants. It has already been shown that normal water treatment plants cant cope or are unable to do a good enough job of removing the chemicals and radiation.
The UK government is taking no notice of the experiences and problems that are already happening all over the world and extremely well documented in both the USA and Australia. The health of the people in areas near to shale gas fields in the US, all have severe health problems from both the water and air around them. Most are unable to use their water having become so toxic, and many are able to light their taps on fire. Methane finds it way through leaks, in to the water system and ultimately in to households. It finds it way in to the water table, in to the land. It is not controllable whatever the government or companies tell you. health effects of shale gas.
But the chemicals used in the water, the 50% that is lost in the ground, have come back to haunt nearly every person living near these wells in every part of the United States where fracking happens. Serious health issues are widespread, such as sensory, respiratory and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water and the waste fluid recovered from the operation.
Wild life has died, methane that bubbles up through streams can be lit on fire with a match and the countryside is decimated. But they are also contaminated by the heavy metals produced during the process and some people have been tested by their doctors and found to have arsenic poisoning.
So why does the UK government think this is not going to happen here, or does it not care. The emissions of co2 alone from the whole process including all the trucks and generators and the chemicals given of and methane leaked are so great that the atmosphere around the sites are so carcinogenic, so toxic that it makes natural gas one of the most environmentally unfriendly fuels on earth.
The pollution and potential damage from this form of energy extraction has not even begun to be measured properly in the countries where it is being used and on such a large scale. Why is the UK government being so secretive about this, why have the public not been consulted at any point. And why is our government selling our countries health and the environment to the highest bidder. Its simple, oil is the most profitable and powerful business in the world. This is simply about profit not energy security and certainly no about clean energy and it is guaranteed, it wont make our fuel bills cheaper. In fact the real truth is that this type of gas exploration is so unprofitable it is paid for by you and will leave our country with an even bigger debt than it has now.
Writing By Thomas W Morley
Watch Both Gas Land Documentaries before you do anything else.