Week Ending 6th April 2014

UK news highlights

IGas may be wrapping up their drilling operation at Barton Moss, but the protectors are still in action. So, unfortunately, are the police, with no let-up in their aggressive and violent behaviour. More time was spent in cells by camp activists, and more unreasonable police bail conditions that were overturned by the magistrates. GMP was reported to be setting up an "ethics committee" after three probes launched into their conduct. Too late. Insider Paul Bailey reported in the black and asian officers web site that "I fear that it will be a generation before part of our community even considers trusting GMP again."

A prominent Lancashire politician warned of the dire effect of fracking on roads, while Salford labour councillors issued a leaflet saying they were happy for fracking with safety "assurances".
In Brighton, the trial of four activists including Caroline Lucas was adjourned until later in the month.

Daneshill proved that Balcombe and Barton Moss are not one-offs, and similar resistance will be encountered by the frackers at each and every drilling site. The government has misjudged the situation, objections to a clearly unsafe industry is mounting. At Daneshill it was revealed that Dart Energy propose to drill on the location of a 450 acre munitions factory in WWII. The local MP reacted with horror to the news.

At the end of the week exciting news reports came in that at Duttons Lane, Upton, Cheshire, a new camp - Upton Protection Camp - has been set up on the proposed Dart Energy CBM drilling site, the first time a camp has been set up on a site in advance of the frackers moving in.

" CAMP WISHLIST

Beans
Eggs
Rice milk
milk
peanut butter
Humous
Windbreakers
Cable ties
pallets
bark
battery packs for solar panels

No smoking signs!
Washing up bowls

Dry Hay Bales
2 x Brewing Barrels
2 x Toilet seats
2 x Tables
Polyprop 220m of 8 or 6 mm
Lebara phone credit
Bin Bags
Sheets
Tarps of all sizes
Banners and Signs
Paints
Coffee
Or just pop along to say hello, bring a smile,"

UPTON & THE UK: "We shall not abandon our responsibility to protect the areas that we love and call home;
We insist on justice and fairness;
We insist on the requirement to protect our water supplies (aquifers), our civil rights and our community;
OUR OPPOSITION IS NON-VIOLENT, BUT IT IS ALSO NON-NEGOTIABLE"

The war of words continued. David Cameron, having had his claims of reliance on Russian gas trashed, is still using political security to bolster his pro-fracking stance. The fact that he cares - in reality - more about cash than political posturing came this week when he offered help to the moribund UK coal industry. This is being undermined by new cheap US coal imports now rather than imports from Russia. A reminder from Yorkshire of how coal mining is continuing to damage our environment came earlier in the week with an application to generate electricity from coal mine methane. It is clear that disused mines up and down the country are leaking the potent GHG methane into the atmosphere, most unmonitored and unmeasured. There will be worse to come if companies are allowed to dig for coal bed methane after getting the foot in the door with "conventional" gas exploitation applications.

Tory puppet Energy Secretary Ed Davey described the potential development of a new renewable energy idea as "game changing". I wonder where we've heard that before.
"Millions of homes across the UK could be heated using a carbon-free technology that draws energy from rivers and lakes in a revolutionary system that could reduce household bills by 20 per cent" blurted the Independent. An idea which is not implemented - and it won't be by Davey and his masters - remains just that.

More press interest came regarding last week's release of the ReFINE report flagging up the disgraceful lack of monitoring of existing abandoned onshore wells. The BBC comment was particularly relevant regarding many of these being oil wells. More leaks to the press indicate that the Weald in southern England will come under attack from would-be shale oil frackers rather than fracking for gas. A new report by the BGS and DECC is expected to downp[lay gas and promote oil.

More opinion came from the risk industry that the government's fixation on fracking would indeed undermine renewable energy development.

British Gas boss Sam Laidlaw was accused of ‘Scaremongering’ when he warned that an Ofgem energy review could lead to blackouts.

In Wales what was described as a landmark victory was claimed as councillors in Wrexjam voted down an application for gas drilling.

David Cameron and the Tories are reported to be putting further anti-windfarm measures into their 2015 manifesto, despite the growing evidence that many more people are in favour of windfarms than fracking.

Equally worrying is that the Queen's Speech is predicted to introduce a law change to allow fracking under private land wothout need for the landowner's permission. Those who have seen our concern about this issue over the last year will know that without such a law change fracking could be doomed. We can only hope that the National Farmers Union or similar body wakes up to the threat and tells the government they will not stand for it.

Planning permission was given in Lincolnshire for what could be the UK's biggest solar farm.

Outside the UK

One of the more ludicrous stories that has been around some time is the legal banning of anti-fracking activist Vera Scroggins from a huge area of Pennsylvania from land owned by frackers Cabot. This cut her off from not only friends but stores, doctors and hospitals. Now a judge has finally seen reason.

More reports come in of concerns over US fracking. Hundreds Of Fracking Wells In Pennsylvania Have Been Reported For Air And Water Violations.

A Marcellus Shale fracking health study will be narrow, hasty, and underfunded, health organisations claimed.

It is becoming clearer that fracking is splitting on party lines, with Republicans accusing California of blocking economic progress, and a number of Democrat senators accusing the EPA of failing to produce unbiased reports.


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

Exclusive: Renewable energy from rivers and lakes could replace gas in homes

Shale gas wells could leak and contaminate water supplies, report warns

'Orphan' oil wells warning for fracking

Fracking won't crack our dependence on Russian gas imports

Fixation with fracking could undermine renewables investment

No, Fracking Is Not Making the U.S. More Secure

‘Scaremongering’ British Gas boss Sam Laidlaw warns that Ofgem energy review could lead to blackouts

Protestors form human blockade outside Retford 'fracking' site

GMP Leadership in Crisis

Greater Manchester Police to set up ethics committee after three probes launched into their conduct

Salford Barton Moss anti-fracking site In pictures Behind the scenes of the IGas site in Eccles

“Sparks could fly” as campaigners visit fracking site

Sutton-cum-Lound: Anti-fracking campaigners say proposed forest drill site is on top of an old wartime bomb factory

Hundreds Of Fracking Wells In Pennsylvania Have Been Reported For Air And Water Violations

Hundreds Of Fracking Wells In Pennsylvania Have Been Reported For Air And Water Violations

Anti-fracking campaigners celebrate 'landmark' vote

Tories plan new attack on windfarms

Coalition eyes plans to allow fracking under private land

Oil-Bearing Shale Discovered Under Southern England

Lancashire roads and 'Fracking' impact

Lincolnshire solar energy farm will be 'UK's largest'

Toxic emission spikes at fracking sites are rarely monitored, study finds

Young people ready to mobilise and voice opposition to fracking

  Links to other
anti-fracking sites