Fracking

Following on from Green MP, Caroline Lucas‘s arrest for taking part in a peaceful demonstration at Cuadrilla’s fracking site in Balcome, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the issue. I think there is no place in Britain, or indeed the world, for fracking. It is a dangerous, destructive, short-sighted act, that will help nobody but the energy company fat cats. Below is an extract from the motion I submitted to my RMT branch opposing fracking:
Fracking or hydraulic fracturing to use its correct name, is a method of obtaining natural gas to be used for fuel. The process involves drilling into rocks and blasting them with a highly pressurised mixture of water, sand and chemicals to release the gas inside the rocks. This gas is called shale gas. The pressure from the mixture causes cracks, or veins, in the rock, which allows for the shale gas to flow back with the mixture. Although fracking is very popular in the US, the world’s second largest CO2 emitter, many countries have banned the process, including France and Bulgaria.
The reasons behind fracking’s controversy are many. The most notable is that the chemicals used in the process are known to cause cancer and the inherently dangerous nature of the process allows for these chemicals not only to pollute the air surrounding the fracking site, but also to leak from the fracking well, contaminating groundwater, which could end up as the water in your tap. Other environmental costs associated with fracking are huge. Millions of gallons of water are transported to facilitate fracking, meaning high carbon emissions as well as the need to build access roads for these vehicles to reach the fracking sites and remove the vast quantities of waste produced during the process. Another side effect of the fracking process is earthquakes, with two being recorded in Blackpool in 2011 during tests of the process.
On the subject of cost, an April 2013 report by the Energy & Climate Change Committee admitted that they doubt fracking will reduce energy prices in Britain. Fracking is a short term solution to a long term problem. The UK’s shale gas reserves will only meet consumer needs for 47 years, whereas investment in renewable energy sources will ensure sustainable energy for future generations, reduce carbon emissions and create thousands of jobs in a new energy industry. The government are legally obliged to reduce global warming by 2 degrees, which will be impossible if it insists on continuing to devour our fossil fuels and push forward with their plans to frack in the UK.
Tory peer, Lord Howell’s recent disgusting comments that the north east of England is a good candidate for fracking because it is “desolate” and there is “plenty of room” show that our government is totally out of touch with not only real people, but environmental (and public health) issues. London Mayor, Boris Johnson even wants to frack the capital, saying “if reserves of shale can be exploited in London, we shall leave no stone unturned – or unfracked.” It is Londoners who will be exploited if Boris gets his own way.

The motion then goes on to ask RMT to oppose fracking and create more green reps. I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

Some useful websites about fracking are
No Dash for Gas and the Green Party website.

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