Week Ending 4th August 2013
Special Report - Response to DECC Q&A - Fallon's fallacies
Special Report - Could this kill off UK fracking?
The ugly face of the police, 26th July 2013
20 minutes before this photos was taken the man in the middle and the lady to the right were sitting having a picnic with myself and my boys.
They were concerned about being able to recycle and compost the rubbish created at the site.
This is how the police treated them.
There was no warning. I was having a picnic lunch with my 2 and 4 year old boys. I saw the waves of police. I started frantically trying to pack up my picnic, strap them in the buggy and get my children out. I was asking the police to please let the women with buggies and children out. They were like drones. There was another wave in high vis jackets behind this one. I felt terrified of the police, and trapped. Even the telegraph reporter was sobbing. Where were my rights to safe and peaceful protest? The people being arrested simply sat across the entrance they were heroes and I salute them! Went back in the evening and back to the festival feeling - do come if you can.
Monday in Balcombe
Road damage this morning from just one truck.
WSCC had better start saving its pennies for a huge roadmending bill.
Is this an AONB? Was, maybe. Never will be again. Cuadrilla's little bit of Sussex heaven.
As the Balcombe camp entered its seond week it seemed to me that the protest has been remarkably successful.
Despite earlier stories that the protestors were professional "swampy-type" activists the realisation I think has finmally dawned in the press that the protestors and the people of Balcombe - including the parish council - stand side-by-side in opposition to fracking.
The whole level of debate in the UK has been ratcheted up. Egan and his cuadrilla are driven to more extreme press statements, accusations of death threats adding to straw man arguments, to justify his company's actions.
Meanwhile the Guardian broke the story (finally!) that Cuadrilla had paid out compensation for trespass and damage in the Fylde, and been reprimanded by the government, which can not but tarnish their image.
The case against Cuadrilla is building. Incompetence in operation, including earthquakes and two failed well drillings. Censure by the government for failing to inform them of well deformation after the first Blackpool earthquake.
Continuing test drilling at Banks two months beyond their planning permission limit. At Balcombe already breaching four of their planning conditions.
Being reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Agency for making false or misleading claims (which they continue to do in clear breach of the ASA judgement). And now confirmation of trespass and damage.
It is inconceivable that the future of fracking should be in the hands of a company with such low standards, and incredible how much it is clear that the government relies on them for supposedly showing the way on good practice.
The week at Balcombe.
More arrests at Balcombe were carried out on Monday, but the camp remained strong. How do the Tories win in the North now?
FT:In the wake of Monday’s protests, a spokesman for the company said it was not clear when exploration would start at the site. “We don’t know when we will start drilling,” said Neil Cameron.
The Telegraph reported that the grassroots protests in the village of Balcombe against fracking have sparked a countrywide rebellion as villages up and down the country vow they will also blockade any attempts to drill.
Tuesday saw rain, and no significant press reports.
On Wednesday the Telegraph reported that the Balcombe protest was putting a severe strain on the police.
“The officers are just being worn into the ground and it’s now starting to affect the officers’ morale and I would imagine in the fullness of time their fitness to carry on working.”
Thursday morning's main event was the blocking of Cuadrilla's entrance by an old fire engine. Frackfighters locked in. Police arrested the driver and erected scaffolding to facilitate cutting protestors out. In Lichfield No Dash For Gas activists took the protest to Cuadrilla's front door. They finally towed the fire engine away with two protestors still inside. Later as two Cuadrilla trucks forced their entrance an ambulance was called for a woman pushed over by police.
Balcombe Parish Council has now put on record its opposition to Cuadrilla's plans. Even with no fracking the Council has formally objected to Cuadrilla's application to extend the deadline for testing.
On Friday Cuadrilla were reported as testing equipment ahead of imminent start of drilling, and later press reports said drilling had started. On Saturday protestors disputed this.
This did not affect the continuing protest. On Saturday early reports were of two arrests after "scuffles" with police, but later reports were of a friendly carnival atmosphere.
A local group published results of a Balcombe survey in which they claimed that 85% of all Balcombe households opposed fracking, putting the lie to any idea that there was a "sleeping majority" who supported it.
Other UK news
Lord Howell made a major blunder when he described the North-East as "desolate" and said it was fit for fracking. He will have a lot to live down after this outburst, especially given his links to the industry and his son-in-law Osborne.
He could not have chosen a better time to increase support for the Balcombe protestors.
He went on to compound the error by saying oops he meant Lancashire. Now he has offended the whole of the north, calling it variously desolate, unloved, unpopulated and without environmental sensitive areas.
"How do the Tories win in the North now?" asled the Telegraph's deputy editor.
Minister Fallon had no hesitation in putting his own constituency under threat. Hopefully his seat at the next election is similarly under threat. In talking about extracting from under towns and villages he has little idea of the reality of fracking. Coupled with a repeat of the lies that we are protected by regulation and there is no evidence of water contamination from fracking activities he deserves either contempt or pit for being an ill-advise simpleton.
Despite the Balcombe affair, Centrica is to put more money into fracking.
A High Court decision to overturn a planning inspector decision to refuse an application for oil exploration at Eden Hill, Surrey highlighted the fact that it is not only unconventional gas exploration which attracts objections and protests. And in Leicestershire Egdon resources were given permission for oil exploration in Leicestershire. In support of their decision ouncillors trotted out the by-now expected propaganda by the industry that we should not rely on "unstable" parts of the world to supply oil. Now there is interest in shale it is hard to avoid the suspicion that any new exploration will not be looking for shale gas opportunities.
Egdon Resources also have recent planning consents in Lincolnshire (Laughton, Wrestle and Burton-on-the-Wold) ostensibly for oil exploration but since in May they bought a new license in Lincolnshire to add to their existing interest, and pushed out an estimate for 3tcf shale gas in their PEDLs, it would be foolish to think they are hiding shale exploration under their stated oil exploration, expescially when applications state search for "hydrocarbons".
The disgraced Wyre councillor Gordon McCann refused to resign over last week's slander incident. More to the point is, why are Wyre not hauling him in front of their standards committee for bringing the council into disrepute?
The Herald Scotland announced a public enquiry into Dart's plans to effectively put CBM and fracking on public trial.
LibDem hypocrite Ed Davey exposed the depth of his floundering about in the Tories' mess of energy policy by pretending now he's pro renewable and not pro fracking. Typical LibDem. They see the way the public mood is changing and do an about-face.
The Telegraph outed Dr Edward Lloyd-Davies as a person behind frack-off and criticised him (and fellow-protestors by smearing them as "privileged". Disgusting hypocrisy from the Telegraph which panders to money and posh education.
They continued their attack on the opponents to fracking by claiming frack-off was funded by store chain Lush.
Back to Cuadrilla, finally it was publicly revealed that Cuadrilla had committed trespass and other misdemeanours last year in Lancashire. No surprise there for those of us who know what depths Cuadrilla will sink to. Cuadrilla's boss Egan, commenting on Howell's howler, seemed to think that Cheshire was in the north east.
The Mail revealed in a private meeting Minister Fallon candidly admitted that prosperous homeowners who find fracking on their doorstep in the Tories’ Middle England heartlands could be in for a shock.
Lib Dem president Tim Farron expressed his concern about the Tories' dash for shale warned fracking could harm countryside 'for decades'. Or maybe rather longer, we'd say, Tim.
The row over Pennsylvania's contaminated water rumbles on with a new document by an EPA official confirming Gas drilling caused "significant damage" to drinking-water aquifers.
Other reports came in of increasing complaints about US water pollution.
A new report on flaring US calculates it wastes $1bn a year and leads to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to putting one million cars on the road.
Details emerged of how the oil and gas industry funds the US Republican party.
George Mitchell, the founder of fracking, has died. The Economist provided the most telling report, an interview with him before he died.
" We know that there are significant impacts on air quality, water consumption, water contamination, and local communities."
Any opinions here not quotes from the
week's news reports are my own. Alan Tootill
News As It Came In with
hyperlinks to original stories
Telegraph still got its head stuck somewhere. They just can't come to terms with the fact that the Balcombe events involve local people.
High Court judge overturns Surrey Hills oil-drilling resfusal
Egdon Resources to drill for oil in Leicestershire countryside
EPA Censored Key Pennsylvania Fracking Water Contamination Study
Pics and report from Balcombe
Pics and report from Balcombe
RAFF calls for councillor to resign
FT:Shale gas company Cuadrilla survey site hit by fracking protest
Portsmouth News:Anti-fracking protesters arrested
FT:Shale gas company Cuadrilla survey site hit by fracking protest
Fracking tied to Pa. water woes by EPA state official
Express: Mums’ Army in war on Balcombe fracking
Celeb Bianca Jagger supports Balcombe
Mid Sussex Times:Six more arrested at Balcombe Cuadrilla site
"the use of pressure points is one that is proportionate and uses the minimum of force necessary."
The Week: Fracking: Tories and Lib Dems risk alienating core voters
Argus: Anti-fracking protesters stand firm in Balcombe despite rain
Guardian: Fracking protest: who's who in the battle of Balcombe?
Independent: Police accused of using ‘excessive force’ during Balcombe fracking protest
Mirror: As fracking protests grow: Is "shale gas revolution" worth the environmental risks?
A house sale in Fernhurst lost due to fracking threat
Apparently the "professionals" think we need educating.
II raises spectre of compulsory purchases in the UK
BBC report confirms without doubt Cuadrilla has its eye on fracking Balcombe
Another good argument for abolishing the House of Lords
Howell says the north east is desolate and should be fracked.
BG: Government energy adviser recommends targeting fracking in 'desolate' North East
ITV: Fracking should be carried out in the North East of England where there are large, desolate areas, says Lord Howell of Guildford.
FT: Osborne’s father-in-law says concentrate fracking in north east
Tory peer "foolish and ill-informed" to say fracking should take place in the "desolate" North-East
US fracking industry wasting $1bn a year in gas flaring
New report calculates flaring of gas from North Dakota fracking industry leading to greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to putting one million cars on the road
Fracking protests 'puts strain on police resources'
Fracking protesters say police use 'excessive force'
Centrica will 'put more capital up' for shale gas exploration
Lord Howell: George Osborne's father-in-law urges fracking in 'desolate' North East
Guardian: Fracking - share your beautiful photographs of the north-east
Super-glued fracking protesters arrested
Keith Taylor MEP accuses police of using excessive force on Balcombe fracking protesters
Anger, tears and joy at Balcombe fracking protest site
Egan: Fracking 'won't ruin countryside'
Ohio: State forest fracking plan halted, for now
Sevenoaks MP and energy minister Michael Fallon argues fracking working in Kent must go ahead
Fallon: The South East must accept fracking
Howell goofs again
And again - the northwest is unloved and not environmentally sensitive
Fallon mounts the fracking horse and tells more porkies
‘I will not quit’ says fracking row councillor
Pittsburgh-area shale settlement 'gag' questioned
Majority of Californians are against fracking, new PPIC poll finds
Shell profit falls on N. America shale write-down
Once, the Tories understood rural Britain. Not any more.
The anti-fracking protest in Balcombe is just the tip of the iceberg. All over Britain, a new countryside rebellion is brewing
Fracking lobby helps fund GOP campaigns
Oil companies begin 'fracking' in China’s most dangerous earthquake zone
Is there no limit to man's stupidity?
Fracking opponents take the protest to Cuadrilla's front door
US: The states vs. feds fracking “fight” is getting louder, but why?
Herald Scotland: Fracking public inquiry a necessary precaution
BPC's objection letter re Cuadrilla extension.
Ed Davey dismisses fracking with pledge to ‘expand renewables’
Telegraph: The academic turned protester behind anti-fracking group Frack Off
Fracking firm Cuadrilla trespassed on private land for geological surveys
Balcombe fracking protesters vow to fight on as drilling begins
Herald Scotland: Inquiry into coal-bed gas plan after 2500 object
BBC: Balcombe fracking protests continue after oil drilling starts
Josh Fox Interview
High Street store Lush is main financial backer of Frack Off
BBC: Balcombe fracking protesters meet villagers
Realisation dawns at the BBC that the villagers and the protest are of accord.
Offshore...Fracking: Far More Common Than Previously Known
Fracking Opponents 'Dancing In Street' As Protests Continue
Doomsday alert over fracking as minister warns of rectory walls quaking across Middle England if drilling continues.
Express: Balcombe backs anti-fracking protest
Telegraph video: Balcombe says no to shale gas drilling
Lib Dem president Tim Farron warns fracking could harm countryside 'for decades'
Home of fracking firm boss is 'perfect' place for shale gas drilling
Fallon backtracks on his words. Says Weald will not be fracked unless it is "absulutely safe".
FT: S shale gas boom a one-off, says BG