Fracking – Is this the beginning of the end?

Fracking – Is this the beginning of the end? by Julienne du Toit, July 11, 2012,
They are horror stories. The water coming out of their taps becomes flammable, contaminated with methane and oil, undrinkable. … Shell at least had the good grace not to even pretend there will be jobs or any benefit whatsoever to the community. The only ones to benefit will be Government (which owns any and all minerals, gas and oil underground) and Shell, and they admitted as much. Again and again Shell were asked if they could give an assurance (and to back it with money) that groundwater and therefore the health, livelihoods, communities and towns in the Karoo would not be affected. All Adam Dodson could say was that Shell had never any incident of contamination while doing exploratory fracking. He also said the Government was the only recourse for compensation of any kind. There was a stifled groan from the crowd. … Wherever public meetings have been held in the Karoo (including Graaff-Reinet and Hofmeyr), angry community members asking pertinent questions came away with nothing. According to Adam Dodson, Shell’s Unconventional Oil & Gas Exploration Manager (New Ventures), they still have no idea where the millions of litres of water needed for fracking will come from. … Also present at the meeting was Ernest Pringle, president of Agri-Eastern Cape and a farmer in the affected district. He stood up in front of the meeting to emphasise the importance of groundwater. The recent crippling drought in the Bedford and Somerset East region was just a reminder, he said. “I spent all my time trying to pump up more groundwater to keep going. So we want to know with certainty what the effects will be to the underground water supply.” When asked if there was any kind of possibility that contamination could happen, Dodson pursed his lips and looked down.

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