Wednesday 26th October 2016                 Change text size:

Three facts on fracking

Photo: www_ukberri_net via Flickr

There has been an awful lot of noise about the controversial method of extracting shale gas, hydraulic fracturing – also known as fracking.

The nation seems to be equally divided between those who support it and those who don’t. With this in mind, here is a short three-point guide to fracking.

1. Fracking causes earth tremors

All mining activity causes tremors. It is disingenuous to suggest that fracking won’t. Some geothermal methods do, too. Hell, the underground line running under the very building you’re sat in does.

Hydraulic fracturing near your home means earth tremors and potentially minor earthquakes. This matters less in the US with its low population density, but it’s still a bit rubbish if you live near a fracking site.

In the densely populated, older and more fragile building stock of the UK, this could be expensive. Try getting building insurance once the damage starts taking place.

2. Groundwater pollution is probable

We are assured this cannot happen. Until it inevitably does. The Earth’s crust, upon which we live, is a fragmented, holey, semi-permeable, slowly moving layer.

Those who seek to profit from fracking will do their level best to assure us that everything will be OK. However, they cannot guarantee that an existing bedrock fracture, sandy layer or underground system will not be penetrated and the toxic chemicals used in fracking seep into the water table and aquifers.

When it does inevitably happen, good luck trying to reverse the irreversible effects or suing the fracking companies for some measly compensation.

3. Burning more gas causes more pollution

While there will be the standard roster of climate change deniers who defend fracking as reducing, if not eliminating, our carbon emissions, they ignore the fact that burning fossil fuels causes pollution. And still emits carbon. That’s like being a little less rapey – i.e. it’s always a terrible crime.

This pollution causes respiratory problems, especially in the young and weak. So, if you’re fond of constant headaches, breathing difficulties, heart problems, gastroenteritis, cancer and skin irritation, sure, frack on and burn more gas. We at Blue & Green Tomorrow are not fans of any of those things, for us, our children or neighbourhoods.

Conversely, those advocating clean energy from diverse, distributed sources, exploiting emerging energy storage technology and carbon capture and sequestration for existing power plants, can guarantee these things won’t cause earth tremors, won’t pollute the groundwater and don’t cause air pollution.

Renewables are also less of a blot on the landscape, especially offshore, compared to a vast, ugly oil, gas, coal or nuclear plants.

In short, three good reasons to reject fracking and tell your MP say ‘no’ as well.

Further reading:

Church of England: ‘God’s glorious creation’ under threat from fracking

Full-scale fracking ‘unlikely’ at controversial Cuadrilla site in Sussex

Fracking could increase likelihood of major earthquakes, say scientists

Fracking firms warned over risks after report suggests it could reduce bills

Lord Lawson takes on climate scientist on fracking. And the winner was…

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