Week Ending 6th October 2013
Breaking News - Balcombe fluorescent green water alert - see below
UK news highlights
Pagans meet in Bolton to perform an anti-fracking ritual. With Druids doing similar stuff elsewhere, including at Stonehenge and Glastonbury Tor, what is there to worry about? We can all go home and relax.
News from the Conservative Party conference makes the party look more out of touch than ever, with Chris Grayling issuing preposterous statements on fracking reducing energy bills, and Owen Paterson claiming climate change could be a good thing for Britain.
Energy Minister Fallon predicted 30-40 wells drilled in the next few years and said Nimbyism should not be allowed to stand in the way.
Back in the real world the Balcombe camp may be moving up to Manchester. Or Dover, according to local press reports! However, on Friday, the Manchester Evening News reported that the IGas Irlam operation was winning the prize.
But Frack Off revealed that exploration for shale gas may be starting in Yorkshire, where the presence of a drilling rig indicates Cuadrilla might have more than a minor drill renting agreement with Viking UK Gas, who have permission to drill near Pickering.
Egdon Resources claim not to have any plans for fracking Biscathorpe, Lincolnshire.
South Wales faces applications for four exploratory wells, all recommended for approval by counil officers.
Ex politician Chris Huhne seems to have learned little about economics during his prison stay, as he feeds UKIP anti-European feeling claiming it's the EU laws rather than the market which will mean Britain won't get benefit from shale gas.
A new poll conducted by Nottingham University reported support for shale gas has decined since the Balcombe camp media coverage.
Entrepreneur Algy Cluff is getting cold feet about UCG.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has submitted evidence to the UK Parliament showing fracking will not bring down gas and electricity bills.
Cuadrilla got its radioactivity permit from the EA. A pity regulation doesn't cover drilling. We don't know how much radioactivity was in drill cuttings and muds nor where these were shipped for disposal.
In the Fylde thanks to action by RAFF the Wyre Borough Council is to investigate the actions of Gordon McCann who to our minds issued slanderous remarks against fracking opponents in a London meeting in June. The scrutiny committee recommended he be chastised in full council.
In South Wales planning permission was granted to Coastal Oil and Gas for four exploration wells.
The Balcombe story refuses to die down. The first trial date for eleven arrested was set for January in Brighton. It was reported that the bill for policing the camp came to over £4 million.
But the main story of the week came as the remaining small "vigil" camp reported green fluorescent water in streams surrounding the drilling site (see picture above). Whether this is a hoax or Cuadrilla and the pagans have unleashed denizens of the deep remains to be seen. The Environment Agency was called in but at first apparently said they would not come without police to hold their hands. The following morning the story changed to say they had been onsite the previous night but found no "significant pollution". A little later, however, it was clear that they were conducting urgent investigation into the incident.
At 11.30am on Wednesday EA confirmed they had taken water samples, as yet unanalysed, an "incident room" had been set up together with a temporary hotline, and the EA appealed for any fresh information on new pollution or dead aquatic life.
Thanks to GM for the info and for pursuing this, and the remaining camp members for being vigilant.
According to EA's Thursday update "our initial assessment suggests that the substance in the water was a green dye". Well they deserve a round of applause for that. We'd never have guessed. But still no word of just what it is or where it came from.
The official story can be found here
Meanwhile in Lancashire, Cuadrilla announced they are abandoning any further plans for drilling and fracking at the Anna's Road site near Lytham. Francis Egan claimed this was because of technical constraints involving wintering birds. Bearing in mind Cuadrilla exceeded their planning permission at Banks by two months, pushing on well into the winter overwintering season, this sounds a lame excuse. Frankly we don't believe them. The real reason for Cuadrilla's pulling out of the site, where they had been forced earlier to abandon one well because of well casing failure and irretrievable loss of a tool down the borehole, remains in doubt.
A new report from Western Pennsylvania reported radioactivity and contaminants found at fracking wastewater sites.
Another warning was reported of declining US shale production rates.
The Guardian reported growing concerns over radiation risks as yet another new report found widespread environmental damage on an "unimaginable scale" in the US
Any opinions here not quotes from the
week's news reports are my own.
News As It Came In
links to original stories
Pagans gather in Moss Bank Park for anti-fracking ritual
Radioactive waste permit for Cuadrilla at Balcombe
Chris Huhne: UK may have to export fracking gas to rest of Europe
Chris Grayling: fracking is 'solution' to high energy bills
'Climate change? It's not all bad'
Manchester Evening News: Anti-fracking protesters to set up new camp in city
Balcombe fracking protestors could be coming to Dover
Fracking Yorkshire: Cuadrilla's bit on the side
Fracking Fears Calmed By Firm
Some clear criticisms of the EDF methane report
Britain seen putting off subsea coal gasification projects
Michael Fallon: Tory MPs must not be 'picky' and oppose gas fracking in their constituencies
Radioactive materials and contaminants found at fracking wastewater disposal site
Dangerous levels of radioactivity found at fracking waste site in Pennsylvania
Slandering Fylde Councillor will be investigated
Fracking protesters to face trial
Potential pollution near Cuadrilla’s Balcombe site
Future fracking fears as south Wales drilling bids considered
Fracking protests hit UK public support for shale gas
Bill Powers: Give Up The Shale Gas Fantasy And Profit When The Bubble Bursts
Bloomberg: fracking unlikely to bring down UK energy bills
Rhondda and Vale councils pass gas drilling tests
Cuadrilla pulls out of Lancashire fracking site
Feathers fly in fracking fight
Anti-fracking protesters to set up new camp in city
Fracking produces annual toxic waste water enough to flood Washington DC