Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fracking typical

A week ago, Plaid Cymru's conference passed a motion by the Wrecsam branch supporting the use of offshore wind, micro-hydro, tidal, solar and other renewable energies to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

 There is a need for a mix of various energy sources and we avoid putting all our eggs in one basket. Sadly, not all politicians in Wales agree. Tory MP Glyn Davies, from Montgomery, has railed against plans by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (a London-based quango answerable only to the UK Government) to impose more windfarms on his constituency. 

 Yet he sees no problem in arguing the case for shale gas exploitation to take place in other parts of Wales - namely the former coalfields of the north-east and south. Shale gas is seen by some as a potential saviour for the economic mess we're in. It's not. 

  Getting shale gas out of the ground is done by hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking. This is a drilling technique that involves injecting toxic chemicals, sand and millions of gallons of water under high pressure into the ground to release natural gas in shale deposits. This mixture of toxins and sediment, along with any gas released, can leak to the surfaces and enter riers and groundwater in the process. 

Problems due to unregulated fracking in the USA – including flammable tap water in Colorado, methane explosions in West Virginia and poisoned water in Pennsylvania – show what could happen if companies are allowed to expand their operations here in Wales. Do we want Dee water supplies (currently going to 2 million people's homes) ending up like this?

At best it's the fag-end of the fossil fuel exploration industry. At worst it has the potential to contaminate the water supply, poison our land with heavy metals and cause minor earthquakes, as has already happened near Blackpool during test drilling. 

 This is no abstract threat. Test drilling sites have been granted planning permission in two places  in Wrecsam already. Licences have been granted for all of Flintshire and Wrecsam borough. 

 Tories like Glyn Davies might fancy it from a NIMBY point of view but local resistance is growing to this - please get involved.


Luke Ashley said...

Thanks for the support. There is obviously a hell of a lot more to it than can be said in a short article. Just over two years ago, a Facebook friend made some comments about my uploaded photo album of oil rigs I used to work on during my 6 years in the N.Sea drilling industry in the mid 80`s to early 90`s. He posted a link to a newspaper article about shale gas extraction (fracking) hitting the shores of UK from America. I got excited about the prospect of some well paid work somewhere near home, but the more I looked into it, the more I decided to stay well away. I have for the last two years been actively raising awareness about the very serious issues surrounding shale gas and coal seam gas extraction using the technique known as fracking. There are a whole range of issues and reasons to oppose not only fracking itself, but the whole hydrocarbon extraction industry. Having done all this research, I feel ashamed to have been apart of it for 6 years. When you have done as much research as I have, looking at the much wider picture and why we are at this point, you will feel compelled to act as I have and start a campaign of your own to raise awareness while at the same time promote cleaner, safer, cheaper and more sustainable sources of energy. We would not need all this extra energy if we did not waste so much of it in the first place. We should not be trying to meet so called `increased demand`, we should be looking at ways to decrease demand. The only argument for shale gas extraction is the belief that it will boost the economy. This is SO untrue and will never happen in the UK. The only thing that will get a boost is the back pockets of the drilling companies (who are essentially gold diggers) ,their investors and a few politicians who allow it to happen. It WILL NOT create jobs, so don`t believe the promises. It will not lower household gas bills. It will not be cleaner than burning coal. Methane is 30 to 100 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2 and in the short term will increase the effects of global warming. Two wells in Biddulph Moor, at 3 Nooks Farm are leaking as I write. These wells were originally drilled by Shell in 82. They were only found to be leaking as a result of Alkane Energy`s renewed interest in the wells. How many more wells do you think there are in the UK which are currently leaking and unchecked or known to be leaking but nobody wants to admit it or foot the bill for the pointless and costly repair attempts? I say pointless because there is no 100% guarantee that a oil or gas well can be plugged for good. If fracking goes ahead at full steam, we would be allowing thousands more wells to be added the the mix for future generations to suffer the consequences of. Even if they DID find a better way to plug a well for longer periods, nobody can foresee the future and changes in formation pressures or ground movements and new faults due to rising sea levels or adverse weather conditions etc that will inevitably compromise the integrity of these wells. If you are a greedy, ill informed idiot,. say yes to fracking for shale and coal seam gas. If you are well informed, care about your community or your country, want cleaner, safer and sustainable energy that is cheap,.. say NO to fracking and ALL hydrocarbon extraction and the wake of destruction left in it`s path.

Plaid Whitegate said...

Thanks for the info Luke. There's a real danger we could "drift" into this due to ignorance. Plaid has called for a moratorium on fracking and actively opposed plans in the South for such developments. We need to get up to speed up here in the North now.

Luke Ashley said...

I`ve had a meeting with Ian Lucas some months ago now, and KNOW that many Labour MP`s are also against this. It seems the far right wing Tories are doing just as they did during the Thatcher years and selling off all our countries resources to the highest bidders only to tell the next Government to take power that there is no money left. Subsidies and tax relief's going to the areas that make the most profits for the elite few who are already stinking rich.
If we had more like Jill, what a great country this would be.
Not many Plaid crew on here though is there?

Plaid Whitegate said...

There are so many energy issues affecting Welsh communities directly but we have no control over those decisions. Time we had direct control so that any decisions made were accountable to the communities affected.
Re: the EDM 2 out of 3 Plaid ain't bad ;-)...

Luke Ashley said...

Last night a public meeting was held to discuss the controversial method of gas extraction known as ‘fracking’. Saith Seren on Chester Street played host, and the meeting was addressed by Plaid MEP Jill Evans and Friends of Earth Cymru’s Gareth Clubb.