As the title of this blog post suggests, these is my public thoughts about shale gas extraction – or, Fracking. The subject has become a bit of a hot potato today as Kathryn has just returned from a local debate about held in Harrogate about the subject – I could not attend the debate as my health was playing up. I already have some preformed ideas on the subject matter of this blog – but – whilst writing this article I hope to dig deeper and find new view points.
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. – BBC News
Are there any plus points to the process? Fracking allows drilling firms to access difficult-to-reach resources of oil and gas. In the US it has significantly boosted domestic oil production and driven down gas prices. It is estimated to have offered short-term gas security to the US and Canada for about 100 years, and has presented an opportunity to generate electricity at half the CO2 emissions of coal. The industry suggests fracking of shale gas could contribute significantly to the UK’s future energy needs. The Task Force on Shale Gas, an industry-funded body, has said the UK needs to start fracking to establish the possible economic impact of shale gas – saying it could create short-term jobs.
Why is it a hot potato? The extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns. Fracking uses huge amounts of water, which must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost. Environmentalists say potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. The industry suggests pollution incidents are the results of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique. There are also worries that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors.
I can barely contain my rage at the fact that the government is seeking short-term relief in the energy sector over environmental ruin – so, this is my blog and I will express my public thoughts about shale gas extraction: one thing is obvious – we need to break the nation’s reliance on Fossil Fuels if we are progress to a 22nd century. The money used to extract the relic that is gas could be used to invest in renewable sources – we are an island nation, tidal power is something we have in spades. Solar energy provides my Dad’s farm with enough energy to power it. These are all good examples of where the money should be put.
However, I am a firm believer in what Gandhi said; “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If fracking is to be held off, then it will call for a revolution on a personal level. It will call for people to vote with their wallets and stop being so dependent on Fossil Fuels. There are alternatives to oil and gas; look at the start-up Ecotricity and the fact you can get solar panels for your roof.
The most worrying thing – for someone with a foot in the environmentalist camp and a foot in the human rights camp – is that, today, Theresa May’s government has overturned Lancashire council’s rejection of a fracking site, paving the way for shale company Cuadrilla to drill in the county next year and provoking outrage from local groups, environmentalists and politicians. This is not democracy and it is not good news. I have never been more unsure about our nation’s future.
Harrogate is on the shortlist for Fracking – the industry would ruin the local tourist trade and could pollute one of Harrogate’s finest exports – Harrogate Spa Water. In tonight’s debate, the motion that the House was against Fracking In The Area Of Harrogate was carried – much to my relief.