…at least that’s what the grass roots pressure group Residents Action on Fylde Fracking want you to believe. They list their concerns.
Lack of regulations – this is a self-regulating industry
Prevarication. The shale gas industry is governed by the same regulations that all other oil, gas and water extraction operations in the UK are.
Potential health risks from air and water pollution.
Those same risks exist if you live next to a dairy farm of which there are many in the Fylde and Wyre areas. Perhaps cows should be made to not fart or produce slurry. Maybe farmers should be prevented from using chemical fertilisers because nitrates leaching into surface water cause problems to wildlife.
There will be an increase in traffic with 500 trucks per well and up to 800 wells across Lancashire – that’s a lot of trucks on our roads.
But let’s not mention the fact that, up until recently, there were trucks from all over the UK and Europe heading to and from the nearby container port at Fleetwood. Hundreds of lorries drove past the Preece Hall Site, which is situated a few hundreds of yards from the main road that links to the M55 exit at Kirkham, on a daily basis. I don’t know where RAFF got its figures from because there is no link to support the claim. The Preece Hall site is small and 500 trucks required to remove what I presume is flowback water seems excessive. The only reference to an actual figure I can find is the RAFF website itself. Other than that there are the usual vague claims on greenie sites of massive use of tankers servicing shale gas wells 24/7. If anyone can shed light or statistics on the claim I’ll be grateful.
The process uses vast amounts of water – millions of gallons per well.
Perhaps so. Maybe RAFF should be more concerned about petitioning United Utilities, who are supplying the water, to repair or replace the unfit for use infrastructure that pisses away billions of litres of water through leakage every year.
There is potentially huge impact on the environment particularly through chemical spills.
Potentially - one of the most abused words in the greenie dictionary. It forms a weird, jingoistic dimension with words like denier, modelling, renewables and sustainability. As for the chemical spills, I’d be more impressed with facts and figures. If the engineering and fracking process is prone to failure I want to know about it. You know, all that nasty complicated stuff greenies rarely bother with - evidence. Rhetoric and regurgitated greenie mantra propaganda neither counts nor convinces.
The contaminated water will be transported by road to Davyhulme treatment plant, Manchester – what if there is an accident?
Fracking fluid is 90% water, 9.5% sand and 0.5% chemical additives. Common chemical additives consist of sodium chloride (which goes nicely with chips), ethylene glycol (used in household cleaners), borate salts (used in cosmetics), sodium/potassium carbonate (used in detergents), guar gum (used in ice cream) and isopropanol (used in deodorant). I’m assuming that there are also other additives that might not be so palatable but not all fracking fluids are the same. It is known that fracking fluid contains a combination of radioactive tracers (to monitor injection profiles and locate fractures caused by high pressure fluid injection) of which the most commonly used one is Iodine-131 with a half life of just over eight days. The oil and gas industries have been using radioactive tracers since the 1940s. If this procedure is so damaging to the envioronment where are all the irradiated bodies?
There are far more hazardous concentrated chemicals being tankered the length and breadth of the UK every single day of the week. What if there was an accident? It will be dealt with just like any other chemical spill.
We have already had two earthquakes which have been linked to fracking nearby. What more is to come?
A number twenty eight bus? There is more ground vibration generated by traffic than that generated by the recent Preece Hall earthquakes.
There is a risk of additional land subsidence.
Not all fracking fluid flows back. Some of it replaces the gas that is released from the shale deposit. If it’s subsidence the locals are worried about then perhaps they should refrain from extracting groundwater via boreholes.
All resulting in a negative impact on our property prices.
Ah, the perennial cry of the Daily Mail reader. And here was I thinking they were coming across like Guardianistas. I live ten or so minutes drive from Preece Hall and I am not worried about property prices or the remote risk of property damage from fracking induced earthquakes in the least. Energy security is my major concern as is affordable energy. A mismanaged economy has a greater impact on property prices and the rig at Preece Hall is a temporary inconvenience at best. Once wells are exhausted the boreholes will be capped and the rigs will relocate elsewhere.
RAFF urges residents to challenge the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) over its report into fracking.
The DECC Report has a focus that is too narrow because concerns about fracking are wider than just earthquakes.
They are the same concerns shared by greenie activist NGO, Friends of the Earth. What a fortunate coincidence for all concerned (sic).
These aren’t the only concerns of RAFF.
No account has been taken of fact that DECC should follow precautionary principle
On whose say so? The alarmists? I don’t see greenies demanding the precautionary principle being brought into play when it comes to renewables which have proven to be highly expensive and unreliable. Besides, won’t shale gas be necessary to keep the back-up power stations online when the wind doesn’t blow? Where will all that energy come from to generate power for all those electric cars the greenies insist we’ll all be driving? Sunshine and moonbeams?
No account has been taken of the negative impact of earthquakes on potential in-comers such as people re-locating to Fylde, bringing skills, resources, money for local economy etc
The presence of the Preece Hall rig doesn’t seem to have affected in-comers so far. People are still buying ans selling houses. There is a distinct lack of people moving out of the area in droves, fearful that they will be fracked to hell and back. Obviously the many in-coming people (and residents) who will be employed by the shale gas industry don’t count. Who could possibly want their money or their skills. After all, filthy lucre from planet killing hydrocarbons never did Aberdeen any good did it…
No account has been taken of potential leaks of methane into the atmosphere which means that Government CO2 targets will be missed. Attempts at carbon capture will be complex & expensive
What the frigging hell has potential leaks of methane got to do with CO2? Is RAFF suggesting that CH4 and CO2 are one and the same thing? It appears so. And these cretins expect people to take them seriously?
No account has been taken of the fact that no earthquake (however small) is good especially because there can be underground damage to pipes used in the fracking process, which is invisible and undetected
Because the drilling industry never, ever uses sensors to monitor pipe distortion. Which is why Cuadrilla, who operates the rig, failed to notice that the pipe had become slightly distorted close to the fluid injection depth following the last earthquake. Oh wait…
There are no specific details about any new regulations/controls to make fracking safe
Why should fracking be considered a special case? Are the safety regulations in other parts of oil and gas industry of such a low standard that new regulations are required for fracking?
Then there’s the Al Jabeeba Jazeera angle.
When the UK’s water infrastructure is already in severe drought, why is fracking even being considered?
Infrastructure being in “severe drought” is clearly a concern for RAFF and Al Jazeera journalists alike. Quite how infrastructure can suffer drought escapes me. Maybe if we increased our infrastructure to include more reservoirs there wouldn’t be a media and government induced panic crisis whenever it doesn’t rain for a several weeks in certain parts of the UK. Why the residents surrounding the Preece Hall site should consider severe drought a problem when the entire locale (and pretty much most of west Lancashire) is afloat in groundwater from aquifers as well as precipitation (in the north we have many words to describe rain - most of them prefixed by an expletive) escapes me. Perhaps it’s the wrong kind of wet. But then, the final sentence of the first paragraph tells you all you need to know about RAFF and its agenda.
“Fracking: A dehydrated UK, watered only by capitalism” by British freelance broadcast journalist and writer Siobhan Courtney, is a well researched, beautifully written item, primarily concerned with the amount of water the fracking process uses.
Well researched and beautifully written? Really? Well let’s see what Ms Courtney has to say about fracking.
Fracking: environmental and human destruction at its very worst.
Scratches head. Is that human destruction as in mountains of bodies or laying waste to everything around? If it’s the latter should I be worried about the amount of destruction the environment will wreak upon our fragile countryside? Is Ms Courtney’s opening statement a result of solid research and beautiful writing? Or is it naked bias embedded in gibberish?
Groundwater contamination, billions of gallons of fresh water squandered, small earthquakes, toxic air emissions…
…reports of radiation…
Radiation - that single word will absolutely get the dumb proles concerned citizens peeing their pants. After all, RAFF already believes that water held in tanks on the drilling site is so contaminated with radiation from below the ground it will make the entire district glow in the dark should it spring a leak. Ms Courtney and Friends of the Earth seem to be gleefully fine tuning the fear of RAFF members. I’m no scientist so perhaps Nick or Cats, our resident physicists, could expand on the what dangers can people expect from stored fracking fluid contaminated by background radiation?
…not even tap water going up in flames are enough to halt the decimation of our precious countryside, in an attempt to extract copious volumes of natural gas from the unearthed, sedimentary shale rocks below.
Tap water going up in flames? It seems that Ms Courtney has viewed that notorious and debunked piece of anti-fracking propaganda, Gasland. Perhaps Ms Courtney could explain how rocks buried almost nine thousand feet underground can be unearthed through a borehole measured in inches? Is there some strange definition of “unearthed” that has escaped my attention?
Fracking is the latest devastating testament to how destructive capitalism has suffocated and engulfed our precious planet.
Strange how it’s only called destructive capitalism when the West drills for hydrocarbons. What do they call it in the Middle East? Sour grapes? Fear that their stranglehold over hydrocarbon production is being fatally weakened?
Prime Minister David Cameron stood up and declared: “I want this to be the greenest government ever.” That spurious statement has not been honoured.
That depends upon one’s definition of green. Cameron presides over the most intolerabely inept government in history, worse than the last administration which is hard to believe. Therefore it can be argued that Cameron has delivered the greenest government he promised - one of weapons grade ignorance and inadequacy.
Ms Courtney is “staggered” by the government giving the green light to fracking despite the DECC report stating that:
“The similarity of the seismic events suggests this is a highly repeatable source.”
What she willfully ignores is that these seismic events are so insignificant they are not considered to be a threat. Indeed, I felt none of the earthquakes that occurred in March and April last year and neither did anyone else. Only sensors picked them up. The Fylde coast has a peculiar geology with many sedimentary layers forming bedding planes overlying the shale deposits. Some of these planes can and do fracture and slip under pressure which is what geologists believe happened when fluid was initially injected, under great pressure, into the shale. I’m not going to lose sleep over such a minor movement (we’re talking a centimetre or less) thousands of feet beneath my feet that won’t even raise ripples in my cappuccino . Surface sensors are currently being installed all over the Fylde, and I mean all over, to monitor seismicity. The fact is that fracking the Fylde will, in all likelihood, cause bedding planes to slip from time to time. Should I be worried? RAFF wants me to be. I’d be more concerned living next to a building site employing the use of a pile-driver.
Ms Courtney goes on to argue at length about the amounts of water needed in the fracking process. A million or more gallons are required each time the borehole is fracked. Sounds like a lot until you compare it to the loss of water from pipes. She talks of the water used in fracking as being “destroyed” which is an entirely inappropriate and misleading use of the word. Electrolysis, not fracking, will split water into oxygen and hydrogen, effectively destroying it. She and others are right to be concerned about the treatment and disposal of the contaminated water but using hysterical rhetoric and passing off baseless and anecdotal rumour-mongering as informed opinion from climate activists like Frack Off and Friends of the Earth isn’t the way to go.
The billions of gallons of fresh water that will be flippantly flushed into the ground is the very water that passes our lips, falls on our faces and waters our living organisms. Twisted and turned into polluted, toxic fracking fluid. It will never – and can never – be returned to the freshwater it originally started out as. It is destroyed and decimated forever.
Flippantly flushed? Twisted and turned? Destroyed and decimated? Well she does a nice line in alliterative hyperbole, I’ll give her that.
This alarmist and biased tripe is what RAFF calls a well researched and beautifully written item?
Siobhan Courtney is a British freelance broadcast journalist and writer. She is a former BBC World News presenter and BBC News journalist who has reported and written for BBC Newsnight.
I never would have guessed.