Fears of quakes and flammable tap water hit Britain as fracking looms

David Cameron has mistakenly promised communities near shale gas fracking in the UK that they will get £1m “immediately” – ten times the amount they are actually set to receive by Emily Gosden, August 8, 2013, The Telegraph
The Prime Minister told an audience in Lancashire, where fracking is due to resume next year: “We are looking at trying to have a very simple system where every time a well is dug, immediately £1m goes to the local community. And not just to the local council but actually to local people, so people can see a cash benefit in their local village, in their local town and even, potentially, in their local pocket as well.” … Downing Street sources confirmed the Prime Minister had slipped up and the correct figure was £100,000.

The fracking war shows how the Tory party has been captured by a recession-proof old guard, This is more than just a spot of local difficulty for the Conservatives. It is an existential challenge by New Statesman, August 8, 2013
Tory England liked fracking a lot more before the discovery that it could happen in sedate southern Shires. The point was made with accidentally satirical candour by David Howell, a Conservative peer and former minister, when he suggested that environmental disruption should be reserved for “desolate” northern provinces. The gaffe had added pungency because Howell’s son-in-law is George Osborne, the government’s main cheerleader for fracking.

Fracking boss faces growing tremors of resistance from public, press and Tories With plans to drill in West Sussex, Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan has received death threats and an offer to frack his garden by Rupert Neate, August 7, 2013, The Guardian
Writing in the Mail on Sunday last weekend, in an apparent attempt to address middle England directly, [Francis] Egan was at pains to defend the Balcombe drilling. … He addressed the “scare stories” about hydraulic fracturing. Drinking water might be polluted? “No, it won’t,” he wrote. “Not one confirmed case has come to light where fracking has contaminated an aquifer.” That gas flaring can cause cancer? “No, it doesn’t,” he said. What about fracking industrialising the countryside? “No, it won’t.” [Emphasis added]

[Refer also to:

Hydraulic fracturing with gelled propane by Gasfrac/Crew Energy Inc./Caltex Energy Inc. contaminated groundwater in September 2011 near Grande Prairie: ERCB Investigative Report and groundwater monitoring by Alberta Environment

Air emissions near natural gas drilling sites may contribute to health problems by News-Medical.net, March 19, 2012
“Our data show that it is important to include air pollution in the national dialogue on natural gas development that has focused largely on water exposures to hydraulic fracturing,” said Lisa McKenzie, Ph.D., MPH, lead author of the study and research associate at the Colorado School of Public Health. The study will be published in an upcoming edition of Science of the Total Environment. “The report, based on three years of monitoring, found a number of potentially toxic petroleum hydrocarbons in the air near the wells including benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene. Benzene has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a known carcinogen. Other chemicals included heptane, octane and diethylbenzene but information on their toxicity is limited.” ]


Fears of quakes and flammable tap water hit Britain as fracking looms by Dan Rivers and Ben Brumfield, August 7, 2013, CNN

2013 08 07 CNN clip on balcombe protestsBalcombe, United Kingdom (CNN) — The fear of fracking has come to Britain, replete with worries about potential earthquakes and tap water tainted with natural gas that bursts into flames at the strike of a match. Since a ban on the method of extracting natural gas was lifted in May, a company has begun exploratory drilling in the southern town of Balcombe to see what reserves may lie locked up in rock strata far beneath its rolling hills and green meadows. … “We are able absolutely to protect the environment and protect the way in which fracking is done,” said Britain’s energy minister Michael Fallon. “If there is any risk it will be stopped immediately.” But the reassurances are not enough for many. A coalition of opponents to the drilling is growing. People who are otherwise political adversaries are uniting over the issue. Concerned local conservatives have joined the ranks of traditional anti-fracking protesters from the radical left. Much of the gas exploration is taking place in rural regions that usually support the conservative party, which is in favor of drilling. Many of their constituents don’t like the prospects of what fracking might do to their water supply in spite of potential the gains. “We can’t have an industry rolling into communities like this one and destroying it just for the sake of money,” said Balcombe resident Katie Dunn. It’s politically risky for conservative politicians. Fracking could blow a hole in their support at the next election. [Emphasis added]

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