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Week Ending 1st June 2014

Special Report - Cuadrilla's disgraceful history.

The Weald Basin Report - Onshore Fracking's Swan Song.

No right turn? OK if you're a fracker.

Thursday - a chance to play spot the difference. Police took the right turn sign away. Like they stole the public footpath sign at Barton Moss ;-)

Arrested for impersonating a police officer. Spot the real policeman. Good news! Charges dropped! I should b well think so.

Another five charges - court finds no case to answer!

Arrested for singing a song.

UK news highlights

Main stories -

Cuadrilla has submitted its planning application to Lancashire County Council to frack four test shale gas wells in the Fylde at a ne Preston New Road site. This is bound to generate many objections, and if LCC are minded to approve the application we can expect protests and protection camp on a scale larger than that seen at Balcombe or Barton Moss. This is the first real test of whether the North can withstand the assault by the frackers.

First signs of serious opposition to the government's land grab plans. Farming UK ran the story with the intro "The CLA has said the shale gas industry has provided no evidence to demonstrate Government proposals to simplify access for fracking are necessary." Further reports should the CLA fiercely critical of lack of provision for recompense and indemnity of farmers.

How important this issue is (as we predicted last year) can be judged by a press release from Cuadrilla sathreatening to pull out of fracking if the government didn't change the law. Disgraceful if a company is allowed to hold a gun to a government's head like this.

The first Crawberry Hill arrestees pleaded not guilty (and so say all of us) in court and had their hearing deferred until the end of July.

On Thursday police allowed four trucks to enter the Crawberry Hill pad compund from the wrong direction, and allowed them to exit with an unlawful right turn, in a clear breach of traffic sign requirement. Police are clearly attending the drilling site not to oversee and facilitate lawful protest or prevent public disorder - the protectors at the site were not huge in numbers - but to prevent such protest and protect only the interests of the drillers. This is unacceptable, but we are becoming used to see the police in action to serve industry and political masters it seems.

At West Newton Rathlin on Thursday trucks forced their way onto their site with the asistance of a riot truck of police, despite a presence of only two protectors. Earlier they closed off the road to non-Rathlin traffic. Again we are seeing strong police action (and waste of public money) in response to a perceived threat. One of the two protectors was arrested and later released.

What do the police achieve by arrests? Very little it seems, except to discomfort law-abiding protectors. Once again in court on Thursday five Barton Moss protectors were found NOT GUILTY on public order charges, a trumped up charge if ever there was one. The judge agreed wrongful arrest. What a waste of court time and public money. This is becoming a national disgrace. A protector was found guilty of criminal damage after supergluing himself to a chair and window. The property was in fact damaged by the police. His fine, for the window cleaning, was reduced to 10 pounds from 150 after his barrister said the police could have used a debonder instead of cutting tools. What a farce.

A couple of days later Kate McCann, who was imprisoned unjustly and condemned to an oppressive six months remand in Birmingham Prison before a court finally released him on bail, and was dubbed `fracking's first political prisoner', had his case of aggravated trespass dropped by the prosecution. The Crown Prosecution's strategy for cases against the protectors seems now in tatters. Another charge dropped was that against a 15-year-old schoolgirl 15 year old Salford schoolgirl, Saffron Hughes, arrested at Barton Moss in February, an event which shocked and outraged the community. Solicitor Simon Pook, of Robert Lizars, told of the "suffering, bullying and emotional turmoil" the girl endured after the arrest, while she herself declared her relief tinged with anger that she didn't have a chance to say her version in the court.

In another move, charges were dropped against the man arrested last week in Beverley for supposedly impersonating a police officer while wearing a toy helmet and a pig mask.

Friday's news from Crawberry Hill and West Newton alleging unlawful restriction on right to protest
West Newton site is about to become fully operational with 24h security cabin and generators moved in along with a load of other equipment on the back of a dozen lorries. Protectors from Crawberry Hill drove to the site to walk the lorries out but were greeted with a police van blocking the road to the West Newton camp in effect obstructing a public highway. We were told that vehicle access was prohibited and we had to carry on on foot. As we started walking down the road yet another police car blocked our path with officers informing us we could not walk on foot either! We were physically manhandled and a line of police formed up to prevent our passage as apparently the lorries were about to go down the road. They told us we could not slow walk the convoy or hold any peaceful protest and when the lorries came down we were physically moved out of the way to let them pass. For the second time that day we were denied pur rights to peaceful protest! An absolute outrage! Please send Humberside Police your complaints and demand they respect the public right to protest!

And further detail of the police policy -
Two Evidence Gatherers (EGs) came down to take some photos of the site and we took the opportunity to relate to them our frustration and disappointment at the conduct of the police yesterday afternoon. The same was related to the two Police Liason Officers (PLOs) who visited shortly afterwards. They informed us that their 'management' has stood by their decision to not allow us to slow walk the lorries to and from the site therefore continuing to deny our right to peaceful protest. However they offered us an opportunity to negotiate and make deals with them. We told then our right to protest is non negotiable and we are not willing to compromise our principles in order to make deals with police. Despite police brutality and arrests we were always allowed to march lorries in all other anti fracking camps from Balcombe to Barton Moss to Daneshill. Why here should we be denied the same? Even one of the PLOs admitted that if enough people showed up to march with us they would not be able to stop us as its all "a numbers game". This is why we need a bigger presence on camp to make this happen! Please help us spread word and awareness of this campaign so we can show them how little social license the fracking industry has!

Other UK News

The National parks Authority and New Forest Association voiced their opposition to fracking.

A Guardian comment put in a plea for solar energy.

Investment analysts now rate Egdon Resources a takeover target, showing once again that the jockeying for shale gas is all about finance and speculation, and not about the UK economy or our environment's security.

A two-faced Cheshire councillor claimed to be not pro-fracking, after a video had shown him learly endorsing the frackers.

Elsewhere

What we need is a European energy strategy promoting renewables. What do we get? Shale and non-Russian gas imports at heart of new EU strategy.

Concerns are expressed in Germany as Dutch plans to start fracking in 2015 along the border with North Rhine-Westphalia.

US

More news filtered in of the unsatisfactory fracking waste situation in the US. Waste dumping is rife in Texas, and Ohio regulation in tatters. More reports appeared of US problems with radioactivity in fracking waste. Another report linked fracking worker deaths to fracking waste fluids.

In Colorado a huge landslide brought theories of a fracking link. The counter view was that the slide was triggered by abnormally high rainfall.

In New York State, medical groups and health experts called for a 3 to 5 year fracking moratorium.

North Dakota may have oil, but the shale boom may be at an end. Law enforcement can not cope with crime increase and the sex industry, domestic violence and brawls. Accidents are up, including the oil train disaster which killed 40 people.

New low figures for Californian oil and gas may mean bottom has fallen out of economic argument for shale."The ratio of fracking risks to benefits has now shifted radically."

A report from California shows self-regulation, only requiring operators to post data on their websites (as the government has said in a pathetic response to concerns about groundwater and methane pollution in the UK) does NOT work.

A Californian Latino group called for a moratorium on fracking. Obviously they don't feel any fracking boom will benefit them. However, California senators voted against a moratorum.
Fracking will disproportionately affect Latino communities by draining our water sources, poisoning our families, and fueling climate change. Our families are concentrated in some of the areas in California that would be worst affected by fracking pollution, and in the areas across the US that are most affected by climate change— from flood-prone Miami to the drought-stricken Southwest. We are calling for a moratorium on fracking, and we will closely watch who stands with us and who votes to poison Latino communities this week.

US states are at odds over fracking. A bill supporting fracking is now dead in the Illinois legislature. In North Carolina their lower house gave preliminary approval to a fast-track fracking bill.

The hope of a Californian fracking ban collapsed when the senate voted to go against public opinion and side with the frackers.

Shale investment is a high risk business in the US, with huge borrowing needed to get gas out of the ground. In a separate report, Bloomberg confirms shale is drawing investment away from renewables including wind power. Oilprice.com expressed concerns that the shale industry is a lot less healthy than was thought. U.S. President Barack Obama says natural gas can be a bridge from coal to a cleaner energy future. Investors are showing it’s more likely a bridge to nowhere.

Russia switched policy to go for shale.


Any opinions here not quotes from the week's news reports are my own.
Alan Tootill

News As It Came In with links to original stories

Fracking May Be Coming To The Land Near You...

Illegal dumping highlights problem of how to dispose of fracking waste

Fracking hotbed is a regulatory disaster

This fracking zeal overshadows the perfect energy solution – solar

Fracking industry must prove current access system doesn’t work

Sky Could Fall on North Dakota's Oil if We're Not Careful, Shale Boss Says

Fracking In Southern England Becoming Political Headache For Tories

Planning bid for fracking wells

Lord’s damning indictment of the Government’s push for fracking

Blog: Grudgingly, UKIP has a point on saving our shale gas wealth

Elias: New numbers should ease intensity of fracking drive, debate

'Farmers must be protected from fracking liability'

Two more drilling sites found with Marcellus Shale sludge radioactivity in Washington County; DEP sees no threat

Fracking: to save the climate, the gas must remain buried

House committee tweaks fracking bill to delay lifting moratorium

Financial shakeout threatens shale patch as drillers go for broke

California Companies Hide Fracking Wells, Ignore Law – Reports

UK shale deals make Egdon Resources a takeover target, says VSA Capital

Campaigners prepared to fight fracking in forest

Ex-council boss denies Beverley fracking protest charge

Shale and non-Russian gas imports at heart of new EU energy strategy

RAFF - Fracking ‘bribe’ will be opposed

Fracking Sucks Money From Wind While China Eclipses U.S.

Fracking bill failed Wednesday, economists and environmentalists are at odds

NC House Gives Approval To Fast-Track 'Fracking' Bill

Bill that would have sped up fracking in Illinois dies

4 Worker Fatalities Linked to Used Fracking Fluid Exposure

Medical groups, experts call on 3 to 5 year New York fracking moratorium

Is The Shale Industry About To Experience A Shakeout?

Shale Boom Goes Bust As Costs Soar

Latino Group Urges CA Senate to Pass Moratorium on Fracking

Evacuations lifted after lightning strike at Marcellus shale plant

Russia joins global dash for shale in massive policy reversal as it seeks to replicate U.S. boom

Colorado 4×2-Mile Fracking Landslide Deadly COVER UP

Massive mudslide in Colorado on Sunday, Memorial Day weekend

Fracking moratorium dies in state Senate

Niederlande planen Fracking an der Grenze zu NRW

Councillor: 'I am not a cheerleader for fracking'

Cuadrilla applies for fracking permission in Lancashire

Fracking firm submits application

Oil Lobby Overpowers Voters To Kill Statewide Fracking Ban In California

Case against Saffron Hughes dropped as solicitors talk of `suffering and emotional turmoil' of 15 year old

Anti-fracking group calls for ban on gas drilling in Shropshire

Ease fracking laws or we’ll pull out, warns Cuadrilla

Greenpeace: Cuadrilla fracking warning a 'ransom note'

Fracking company warns over access

This Week in US Energy … Shale Ups and Downs

Teenager arrested at anti-fracking protest and charged with obstructing police officer has case dropped

Residents in Tunbridge Wells react to worrying fracking report

Fracking wells possible culprit of Texas earthquakes

Fracking safety calls by MP Flint

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