Week Ending 8th December 2013

UK news highlights

Barton Moss

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MP Barbara Keeley, MP for Worsley and Eccles South, called the Barton Moss police presence over-policing.

But actually a quiet start to the week. Monday quiet, and Tuesday morning saw little action. Hardly a bobby in sight.

By Wednesday the police organised a convoy, which had an enforced go-slow.Police physical aggression brought one woman to the ground, drawing justified criticism.

Thursday was billed as the first day of court appearances by Barton Moss arrestees. Early reports suggested a postponement until February with a review in January. What a waste of everybody's time and effort, not to mention public money. Unconditional bail. What a justice system. Simple offence? Police have evidence? Obviously not. Go on like this and we will end up a third world country where every court case keeps accused in jug for years before being released. Exaggeration? Maybe. But really.

Thursday was also the morning after strong winds affected the camp, with tents collapsing. Help would be much appreciated by the protectors from the local community, I am sure. They deserve it.

Police costs must be mounting. Overkill was how the presence on Friday morning was seen.

Preparations are underway for a weekend of fun and music at the camp.

Other UK News

Action alerts came with new planning applications at Balcombe and Fernhurst in Sussex, and a new mineral waste permit application to the EA at Upton just a couple of miles from Chester city centre. The Fernhurst application was submitted to the South Downs National Park Authority. Egdon are moving into Lincolnshire.

Following last week's expose of the big six profit spree, on Monday FoE responded with a sharp attack on the announcement that Cameron's government was cutting energy efficiency measures, showing he was caving in once again to Big 6 pressure. This, on top of the disclosure that the tax breaks George Osborne has given to North Sea oil and gas in 2012/13 were worth a total of £2 billion to the industry.

George Osborne's autumn budget statement on Thursday was not news, the hefty tax breaks for fracking had been widely trailed, but drew new criticism, including from FoE the suggestion that they were not legal.

At the same time as letting frackers dodge taxes, the chancellor also slashed subsidies for onshore wind and solar farms. However, Greenpeace argued this was good news, demonstrating the fact that renewable production costs were falling dramatically. However other renewable supporters said this could kill new small-scale developments of onshore wind, as well as large developments.

With some new support for offshore renewables because of new DECC-announced reforms in the electricity market, the week's news showed the confusion and disarray of the government's energy policies and its inability to face up the the challenge of both the energy market and climate change.

West Sussex County Council queen Louise Goldsmith went for press exposure without nailing her colours to the mast in yet another disgrace exhibition of Tory councillors' duplicity.

Also widely reported this week was the news that a deal is struck to import US ethane to power Grangemouth's chemical plant, and turn its lossmaking to profit. Oilprice.com regarded this as the year's best news for US shale.

More evidence of Cameron's cavalier attitude towards regulation was the announcement that there would be a severe cutback in HSE inspections (due to HSE cutbacks- what price fracking regulation monitoring - when all they did at Preese Hall anyway was check people were wearing hard hats - no check on well integrity?).

The Centre for Policy Studies came out with a statement that the environmentalists are totally wrong about fracking. This organisation in its own words "has a rich history". Established in 1974 by Sir Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher, it aimed to ‘think the unthinkable’ with regard to public policy. Rich indeed.

The NFU announced that it had a new policy on shale gas, but seemed incapable of publishing it on its web site, so the content remains a mystery. What they did say is that they are concerned that DECC has not considered the impact of fracking on agriculture, and that they are concerned about long-term responsibility for abandoned wells.

Elsewhere

If Barton Moss police employ aggressive tactics, this has nothing on the behaviour of Romanian armoured squads who happily beat up anti-fracking protestors. Chevron was forced to halt operations, but not for long.

In Texas a Dimmitt County jury awarded $281 million to the family of a man killed when his car was struck by a drive shaft that broke off a truck involved in activity in the Eagle Ford Shale. The verdict was hailed as making roads safer.


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

Monday

India: Private oil & gas companies may get nod to explore shale resources soon

Energy Bills: Govt caves in to Big Six

Red tape Britain: Factory checks to be cut in red tape war

Tuesday

"Fracking greener than windmills" Anti-wind biased pseudoscience.

US shale gas plan to make Grangemouth profitable

30,000 historic sites in Wales are at risk from climate change

Barton Moss: MP says anti-fracking protest 'over policed'

Wednesday

EPA fracking study could hurt energy boom

Thursday

Romanian police brutality against anti-fracking protesters

Friday

Dismay for green lobby as fracking is given the go-ahead

This Year's Best News For U.S. Shale Gas

US shale gas plan to make Grangemouth profitable

Incredible BS: Environmentalists are mistaken over fracking, says CPS

Saturday

NFU announces new shale policy

U.K. Embraces Fracking, Picks Winners And Losers Among Renewable Energy Industries

Egdon Resources signs Exploration Option and Farm-in Agreement, PL161 and PL162

Sunday

Chevron suspends Romania activities amid anti-fracking protests

Meeting pressurises local MLA to seek Public Enquiry into fracking

Shale company ordered to pay $281M in wrongful death

West Sussex County Council leader raises fracking with David Cameron

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