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Week Ending 15th June 2014

Breaking News - Anne wins the Observer 2014 Local Hero award!

Retired teacher Anne Power is as formidable as her name suggests, having become a figurehead for the anti- fracking protest camp at Barton Moss, Salford. Power travelled six miles to the camp most days through winter, with the help of her walking stick, to help set up blockades, provide food and counselling, and raise awareness.

Her commitment is driven by anger, particularly at the police. "They beat people up, and are very invasive when they deal with women. I didn't understand why the younger generation hate them so much until I was on the frontline." Assisting lock-ons (protesters who chain themselves to dangerous machinery to impede their operation) has put Power at physical risk. She has also been instrumental in the legal overturning of arrests made at the site. "I stand as witness in court looking like a respectable citizen, which helps the judge decide they're not dealing with morons, layabouts and hippies, but clever, dedicated people, giving up their lives to a cause."

At the age of 82, wouldn't she rather be at home with a cup of tea and Corrie? "I don't drink tea and can't bear Coronation Street!" she laughs. Besides which, she's still got energy to burn. "I've got 4,000 emails to deal with every day, plus Facebook. It's about hearing where the next danger point is, deciding a good strategy. Someone this morning said why don't we cover ourselves in lard and run naked? They'll have a job to catch us! That was a funny one."

(Observer)

UK news highlights

The main stories -

Lancashire County Council have posted Cuadrilla's planning application for full-scale fracking at Preston New Road near Blackpool. This includes fracking, production of gas and a connection to gas pipeline, but plans to flare continuously for two years. Cuadrilla are repeating the claim that fracking dates back to 1947. In particular they are again using Elswick as a comparison. The Advertising Standards Agency upheld a complaint on this issue. They said Cuadrilla was misleading in using Elswick as a comparison site. ASA recognised horizontal fracking was very different from the vertical fracking at Elswick. Yet Cuadrilla are using the same claims again to support their application and fool gullible officers and councillors. This is disgraceful.

Cuadrilla also applied for environmental permits for Preston New Road. Consultation is now open on both the planning and permit applications.

Cuadrilla are also submitting their second application for Fylde fracking. This includes plans to recycle fracking waste, and wasteful and non-best-practice flaring. They have also submitted a planning application for a series of seismicity monitoring stations.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the Frack Free Balcombe Residents Association (FFBRA) have issued legal proceedings in the High Court in the latest stage of the legal battle against unconventional oil and gas in the village of Balcombe in West Sussex, by Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited.

Other news -

The Barton Moss "orange bus" trial ended in guilty verdicts. No fines were imposed but arbitrary costs were awarded against the four defendants.

Further court news - the GMP told a number of those awaiting scheduled trial that they were taking no further action, ie putting the charges on hold. This was unacceptable to the defendants who were wanting to prove their innocence, and prove police unlawful action, in court. Their solicitors pushed for a court hearing, but a judge delivered not guilty verdicts in their absence.

The singer who faced public order charges over his song tex had the charges dropped. Yet another own goal for the police, who are either intent on making themselves look stupid or have a policy agenda to arrest and charge on spurious grounds in order to deter valid public protest. Scandalous.

The Sussex Argus reported that a survey carried out for Greenpeace said that a majority of people want fracking put on hold.

The Telegraph reported that a new bulletin from the Centre for Political Studies urges us to frack to avoid the Russian peril. The Telegraph did not report that the CPS was set up by Thatcher and Keith Joseph, and Michael Fallon is one of its top dogs.

Algy Cluff was begging for help for a UCG scheme under the Firth of Forth.

Labour activists will be out in Beverley this weekend conducting a poll on fracking.

Notts chamber of commerce backed fracking.

Elsewhere

A new report from Canada expresses concern that 10% of wells are spewing methane.

Obama's new GHG reduction plan, hailed by the Telegraph last week as historic, and one of the most significant actions to address global warming in US history, was debunked after analysis by Cornell university professors. It fails by omitting curbs on methane emissions.

In Colorado a court attempt by the oil industry to overturn a ban on fracking near Lafayette won by voters is likely to come under national gaze.

In West Virginia a dump was banned from accepting drilling sludge after a Pennsylvania site had rejected the material as being too radioactive. You might remember that in the UK the Environment Agency refuses to accept that there is any significant NORM in drilling wastes/cores/cuttings, they do NOT test drilling wastes and do NOT require data from dumps on NORM levels. In fact they turn a blind eye to the whole issue. They even refuse FOI/EIR requests on where drilling wastes are dumped.


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

Most want fracking decisions put on hold

Scotland sitting on vast coal reserves, miner says

Get Britain fracking or be held hostage by Russia, says think tank

Why we must frack

Fundamental Asset Management’s Boxall says fracking not the solution to UK energy crisis

Leaking natural gas wells spew methane, report warns

Canada's 500,000 Leaky Energy Wells: 'Threat to Public'

Barack Obama unveils historic plan to cut carbon emissions

Did the “Clean Natural Gas” (Methane) Lobby Help Write the EPA “Clean Power Plan”?

Colorado could be 'ground zero' for fracking debate

Poll held over fracking amid ‘North Sea on land’ claims

West Virginia landfill bans drilling sludge

DEP Reacts to Radioactive Material Being Dumped in Bridgeport

County council to examine fracking firm’s application

Notts: Chamber of Commerce supports Government report view that risks from fracking are low and calls for UK shale gas development to be speeded up

Cuadrilla apply for environmental permits for Preston New Road site

Revealed – how fracking will affect us

Revealed - full extent of fracking bid

EU slated for ‘cynical’ €113m shale gas subsidy

EU slated for ‘cynical’ €113m shale gas subsidy

Balcombe anti-fracking group in High Court challenge against energy company Cuadrilla

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