If there’s one major issue of significant public interest today that’s shrouded in fear, uncertainty and doubt, it’s fracking.
If you believe the supporters of this mining process to extract natural gas and petroleum deposits from shale rock – formally known as “hydraulic fracturing” – it could be the salvation of our energy needs for the foreseeable future, maybe for the next forty years or more.
If you believe the opponents of fracking, it’s a major threat to the environment and to public health, causes earth tremors if not actual quakes and is not the answer to meeting our energy needs.
In the midst of all this FUD are governments looking for that political and economic Holy Grail of meeting energy needs that is low cost to do so, will create jobs, stimulate the economy and doesn’t have significant environmental impact, among other things. And might get the political party in government re-elected at the next election.
Who to believe? When trying to find some facts about fracking itself and the consequences of employing the techniques to extract the energy resources from the ground, what confidence can you have that the information you do find is trustworthy? Or rather, those who curate that content can be trusted?
- Fracking opponents consider election bid. A group of people living in a Sussex village which could be the next flash-point in the row over fracking have told the BBC they may stand against their Conservative MP at the general election… - Daily Telegraph, Aug 9.
- Cameron seduces Brits with £100k to win fracking support. Trying to woo Britons with promises of lower energy bills and more jobs, the prime minister warned it would be a “big mistake” to miss out on the shale gas revolution, and disingenuously promised communities 100,000 pounds “immediately” in upfront profit… - RT News, Aug 9.
- David Cameron in fracking mess as he overstates community benefit by TEN times. The Prime Minister said that communities will get £1million each “immediately” when drilling starts nearby… - Daily Mirror, Aug 8.
- Shale gas in northern England could meet Britain’s gas needs for 40 years. The British Geological Survey estimates that there could be 1,300 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas trapped in the rocks under Lancashire, Yorkshire and surrounding counties – far more than previously thought… - Daily Telegraph, June 27.
- Former chief scientist Sir David King warns of ‘irrational’ fracking fears. Opposition to fracking is partly fuelled by “irrational fears”, a former chief scientific advisor has warned… - Daily Telegraph, Aug 10.
- Fracking Might Be Worse for the Environment Than We Think. Reports have debunked claims that fracking contaminates drinking water, but a new study says a lack of monitoring equipment may mask problems… - US News & World Report, May 17.
- The birds have gone silent: how a fracking company is changing my village. I’m just back from the local anti-fracking camp outside Balcombe in Sussex, where Cuadrilla workers are noisily drilling their oil well despite not having the necessary permits and huge local opposition… - Greenpeace UK Blog, Aug 8.
- Fracking fears. The protest against drilling in Balcombe has demonstrated that opposition to fracking is well financed and deeply serious… - Daily Telegraph, Aug 7.
- Fracking’s neighbours must share the riches. The Government faces the age-old problem that those who lose out from a particular measure will always be more vocal than those who gain… - Daily Telegraph, Aug 9.
A few reports from the mainstream media (plus opinion in one blog post). But is it all just so much propaganda?
Seeing TV news reports of the recent protests surrounding the Balcombe site in southern England and the plans by Cuadrilla, an oil and gas exploration and production company, to carry out exploratory drilling to determine suitability of the site for actual fracking, I’m left befuddled and not knowing who to believe.
Even though the Balcombe protests look far too organized to be purely concerned local citizens – to me, it smacks of professional protesters parachuted in, so to speak, by a serious and well-financed organization, one with a big political agenda and little transparency in who’s behind it all – I’m also left with increasing alarm: what if the anti-frackers are right?
Now take a look at this video I came across the other day, via Robert Llewellyn. I have no idea who the producer “Millie Thedog” is, what axe he or she may be grinding (or not), nor whether he or she is an information source I can trust. I have no information on that.
Yet this six-minute video presents a calm but disturbing assessment of the alleged impact of fracking in southern England if it actually happens, especially on the scale the video claims.
(If you don’t see the video embedded above, watch it at YouTube.)
After watching the video for the first time, I asked myself: “Just because we could, does it mean that we should?”
Where’s the truth? Is it out there?
(Image at top of page via Cuadrilla Resources)