WATER USE & CONTAMINATION:
Fracking uses a vast amount of precious fresh water. In times of drought water shortage will be inevitable with fracking in production. There is definite potential of water pollution including contamination of water sources with radiation, toxic chemicals and methane.
20-40% of the contaminated, hazardous and potentially radioactive water flows back to the surface and then needs to be disposed of. Toxic lakes of drilling slurry are created. This eventually needs a place of long term storage. There is need for transport of this highly toxic material by thousands of lorry tankers with the risk of spillage from accident ever increasing.
Pleasant fresh water lakes and underground caverns will be commandeered turning pristine leisure and wildlife havens into deadly toxic areas. In the event of heavy rain or flooding the slurry lakes may overflow to contaminate local water courses.
The remaining 60-80% of the contaminated fluids may remain underground and the only thing protecting our fresh water aquifer from contamination is the integrity of the wells. Industry research states all wells leak and degrade over time.
There is currently no regulation in the UK specific to the extraction of unconventional gas. The ability of the Environment Agency and the Health & Safety Executive to monitor safety, when both are subject to budget restrictions and staff cutbacks, is questionable. No regulations in the UK at present can, with certainty, ensure the safety of these operations that occur on landscape and hydrogeological scales, with industry-proven inability to maintain well integrity.
Much has been made by the UK Government and the Gas Industry of refuting the probability of Earthquakes. This has never been suggested though by opponents. What is suggested and has never been refuted, indeed has been confirmed, is that with extreme gas extraction methods, subsidence of some degree is inevitable. This will result in cracked roads, possibly land slip, but, of more concern for home owners there will be visible cracking of their homes. This will result in many tens of thousands of equity loss per home affected and the inability to sell as well. Insurance companies have already got wind of this potential insurance disaster and are preparing for opt out clauses for people near fracking and gas extraction sites, similar to flood opt out clauses for those in steadily increasing flood risk areas. If you find an unconventional gas extraction permit is possible near your home geologically (and that can be many miles away), please remember to wipe out much of the equity collateral you have in your home when budgeting in the future!
It has been impossible to prove direct health problems in the USA because the toxic chemical mix used is regarded as a trade secret for each drilling company. Any medical attendee is therefore not allowed to disclose if the symptoms that are showing are the result of a particular part of the toxic chemical mix. Since nothing can be reported, the process is declared safe – HA! fracking HA!
At least in this country if problems arise, as the industry purges the countryside with irreparable damage and contamination, then will we get the results! Do you want to be the first statistics to show that fracking and its associated gas extraction mechanisms is in fact harmful to human health and animal life generally? Probably not! So why are they suggesting you should be the experimental guinea pigs and take the risk!!
Where there have been reports due to air pollution from wells producing condensate these have recorded major adverse health impacts. A study by the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention in the US has shown counties over the Barnet Shale, that have been extensively fracked, are one of the only locations where breast cancer rates have been steeply rising against a wider national fall. Health impacts such as headaches, nausea and breathing difficulties have all been recorded. Like so many health affecting processes it appears that the very young, old and medically compromised are likely to be at greatest risk. Do you want your loved ones put at hidden risk?
DECIMATED COUNTRYSIDE and JOB LOSS:
Figures boasted by the company UK Methane, intending to drill in Somerset, would necessitate the drilling of over 2000 wells, where pipelines, access roads and the construction of ‘frack pads’ are all necessary for function. It takes over 2-4,000 large truck movements to frack one well. These developments would lead to the industrialisation of our countryside.
Unconventional gas developments will not create jobs for local people, they will be for transient professionals in the drilling industry. Developments abroad have in fact shown these industries to be job negative! This is because they detrimentally affect tourism, agriculture and other sectors of the local economy. Hence the Government is currently trying to get local areas to accept an admitted bribe to have a site set up in your local area. The bribe money will go to a local council to be swallowed up by their struggle to make ends meet; you may never see any visible ‘benefit’.
There will not be the creation of long term sustainable employment with fracking. Any tax or economic contributions are unlikely to cover the true cost of environmental impact, harm to tourism or agriculture and other consequences of drilling. The Hot Springs in Bath for example contribute £92 million to the local economy each year and are at risk of drilling operations now planned in Somerset. The’ green economy’ , however, has been shown to be the only section of the present economy to be healthy and expanding, by concentrating on energy conservation and true renewables.
The natural habitat for many creatures has been under increasing pressure from humanity’s relentless expansion. Fracking and its associated industries, not only threaten to poison that natural environment, but also consume areas of landscape, likely leaving it void and lifeless with natural ecology struggling to recover.
At a time when more and more people are becoming concerned about climate change as a risk to our future on our planet, we are considering using another fossil fuel source by trying out these new extreme forms of gas extraction. Trying to use up the last few fossil fuels left in the earth makes no sense when they have been proved to have a greenhouse gas effect. As nations are trying to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in order to control future planetary temperature rises, why are we considering a ‘dash for gas’, which will only result in a rush to the precipice of global warming doom?
Energy conservation and reliance on more and more truly renewable energy sources is what is needed. Energy from the sun in its various forms of energy is free at source. As we as humans develop it we will get more and more efficient, as shown in so many fields of human technological advancement. Drilling for gas is a backwards step, not a forward one!
The headline cost of producing gas by these new extreme methods is seen as likely to be less than that of present renewable means for providing energy. However, there are vast hidden costs that are not taken into account. The drilling companies are concerned about profit, not primarily like us about what sort of living environment or human health they leave behind. When the costs of the clear up and corrective measures to landscape and human/animal welfare and quality of life are taken into account, these new gas extraction methods become most unattractive.
UK Government officials have already publically stated on tv that they do not anticipate energy prices to come down with these new processes, but that they may stay the same. Logic suggests, however, that since renewables start with free energy from the sun in various forms, we only need to get more efficient and that energy will long term always decrease!
The UK Government over time realised that the tax it gained from the tobacco industry was more than lost by the increases of demand on the health service from smokers. How long will it be before the Government gets to realise that the hidden costs of fracking and its associates are going to be so cost negative in the long term. Try fracking and we condemn our youth to even more long term economic hardship. Haven’t they already got enough on their plate from this generation!
This website recognises and thanks frackfreesomerset.org for the reproduction here of some of the information contained in the leaflet ‘Fracking in Somerset’.