Week Ending 22nd September 2013

Special Report - What IS Fracking?

Balcombe News Headlines

Court Victory!

The High Court action by WSCC against the Balcombe Community Protection Camp has been adjourned until 8th October.

In a humilating decision, WSCC have shown themselves as competent in bringing legal action as they are in taking lawful planning decisions and monitoring adherence to conditions. They were given until 8th October to get their act together. If they don't, the case will be dismissed.

The court victory ensures that the Camp will continue and be able to police Cuadrilla's cessation of activities when their planning permission expires on the 27th September.

The Balcombe camp claimed its first police victim when an officer was disciplined over calling protectors "scum" on twitter. The PC will be receiving "management advice". Truncheon yes, Twitter no?

Other UK news

Spillover from the Liberal Democrat conference strong pro-fracking vote on Sunday 15th continued into this week's news reports. Edward Davey had told delegates to “reject the zealots who claim it’s a catastrophe”, which puts us in our place LOL! The LibDem motion presented was to agree limited fracking. They seem not to have grasped that there is no possibility of limited fracking gas production in the UK. The difficulty of extraction and costs involved mean that there is a stark choice between NO fracking, and fracking on a grand and environmentally unacceptable level.

An ex-senior scientific advisor to the government warned of enormous environmental consequences from fracking in the UK.

MPs seem now to be lining up to tell their constituents fracking should go ahead very slowly and cautiously, but should go ahead.

While UK's self-styled financial pundits talk about the opportunities for investing shale gas, US experts continue to advise investors that the shale bubble is bursting.


Concerns were raised - and continue to be a major worry - about the effect of fracking wells and pipelines leaking after the Colorado floods. A mainstream media cover-up was alleged. Anti-fracking groups in the UK were quick to point out the dangers in the Fylde, which has a potentially large area of tidal floodplain in precisely the area targetted by frackers.

Speculation mounted in India that six exploration blocks for shale gas would be put out this year for auction.

In the US proposals for regulating fracking on federal land met a mixed response, ranging from mild criticism from the industry to outright condemnation from environmental groups.

A new dispute broke out about fracking's greenhouse gas emissions with a new report suggesting these were less than the EPA had previously thought.

At least that's what the press were saying. Judge for yourself-

"This work reports direct measurements of methane emissions at 190 onshore natural gas sites in the United States. The measurements indicate that well completion emissions are lower than previously estimated; the data also show emissions from pneumatic controllers and equipment leaks are higher than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national emission projections. Estimates of total emissions are similar to the most recent EPA national inventory of methane emissions from natural gas production

However, the main claim to note was that with modern technology up to 99% of methane could be captured. Whether this modern technology is actually widely used by the industry, and whether it will be used in the UK where there is no regulation to enforce that, is of course another matter.

Although supposedly peer-reviewed, the report from Texas University sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and nine petroleum companies faces claims that it was biased by being industry funded and that it used too small a selective sample of wells to draw conclusions. Only 190 wells were studied. 25,000 were drilled in the last year alone.

The study also drew data from wells which were selected by the industry, and were monitored at times agreed by the industry. This selection skewed the result, according to Professor Robert Howarth of Cornell University.

There's no doubt, though, that the report will be seized on by pro-frackers to assure us that with best practice and tough regulation fracking can help reduce climate change's continued onslaught. Already my midweek Ed Davey was reiterating that belief.

Another report into US livestock farming has warned of the threat fracking poses, it was disclosed. US experts warned the UK to place a moratorium on fracking until further research into its impacts on livestock and food safety has been carried out. Last year Robert Oswald, a professor of molecular medicine at Cornell University, and Michelle Bamberger, a veterinarian, published the first-peer reviewed research suggesting links between fracking and sickness in farm animals.

California and Illinoi moved to install fracking regulation, New York continued at a standstill.

Earthworks produced a new report detailing air hazards in Texas caused by fracking.

A report from Pennsylvania confirmed that drillers, having reduced production from shallow (non-shale) wells were turning their attention to horizontal drilling and fracking to boost returns. This raises the spectre of even more surface pollution and groundwater contamination.

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


Criminal charges in Pa. gas drilling case spur debate over industry, enforcement

Lib Dems back new nuclear and fracking

Liberal Democrats support use of fracking and nuclear power

Lib Dem conference day 2: is the party saving or losing its soul?

Wind farm opponents 'living in stone age' as Coalition split exposed

Pundemonium! Energy Secretary Ed Davey delivers cringe-inducing gag-filled speech to Lib Dem conference

Colorado Floods Causing Fracking Spills?:

Natural and Human-made Disasters Portend Future of Toxic Catastrophe

Auction of six shale gas blocks likely this year

CPRE warns of fracking in Lancashire

Anti-fracking protesters are hailing a High Court decision as a "resounding victory" in their fight against drilling in Balcombe.

Fracking could have 'enormous environmental consequences', senior scientist warns


FT: US fracking rules given mixed reception

Gas Leaks in Fracking Disputed in Study

Read the study report here

Industry Funded Report Fatally Flawed, says EcoWatch

George Hollingbery, Meon Valley MP: We need to be extremely cautious about fracking (but let's do it)


Methane capture equipment can cut fracking emissions by 99%, UT study says

UT methane fracking study 'fatally flawed': Cornell scientist

Is fracking a mortal threat to our livestock?

Fracking for gas and oil poses serious risk to livestock, warns expert

Fracking poses risk to UK farm animals and food safety, experts warn

Bath MP Don Foster says progress on fracking must be 'very slow' (but should go ahead)

Kent Parish Council hold fracking meeting

Jenny Jones hits back at Boris over Mayor’s support for fracking to tackle London’s energy needs

Colorado flooding may unleash fracking fluids

Big Oil PR Pros, Lobbyists Dominate EDF Fracking Climate Study Steering Committee


Lord Cowdray adds his weight to the Fernhurst anti-fracking campaign

To avoid conflicts of interest, academic research must be transparent and independently funded, says Cary Nelson

Is Colorado’s Fracking Industry at Threat from the Floods?

Investment prospects for shale gas

Invest in Energy Equities to Profit when the Shale Gas Bubble Bursts

Invest in Energy Equities to Profit when the Shale Gas Bubble Bursts

FOE: Davey support for shale gas will further fracture green credentials

New Statesman - Bianca Jagger: Why fracking is not the solution

Labour MP proves himself another fracking supporter

Did Floods Cause a Fracking Disaster in Colorado?

Top civil servant Jeremy Heywood met Cuadrilla chief straight after Sussex fracking announcement

Canadian pro-fracking "academic" resigns after being exposed as a qualification fraud

Gas chemicals ‘a threat’ to farm produce

Is Oil Industry Funding of a Fracking Study a Problem? Let's Ask an Oil-Funded Expert


Police officer disciplined for Twitter slur calling Balcombe anti-fracking protesters 'scum'

Colorado flood death toll rises, amid oil spills

Chief constable questioned over ‘weak’ Balcombe protest policing

Air Pollution Destroys Health of Texas Fracking Communities

As other states move ahead, New York remains still on fracking


Calif. governor signs state's first fracking rules

Fracking protesters switch focus to Brighton for Labour conference

Safety pledge needed from fracking firms - Welsh AM calls for moratorium


Sussex MP Nick Herbert and Councillor Janet Duncton on fracking: When a councillor stresses an application is only for exploration :-( we know what that means.

Horizontal drilling, fracking begins in old, shallow oil and gas fields

Concerned residents have launched a protest group after plans emerged of potential fracking sites in the Maltby region.

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