Three years ago, unusual seismic activity forced fracking operations to cease operation in many parts of the UK, but that ruling is being overturned.
Starting today, oil companies can bid on shale gas exploration rights, vis-à-vis, fracking, which is short for hydraulic fracturing. On the one hand, allowing for oil exploration seems to be a good thing, according to Business and Energy Minister Matthew Hancock, who said that “speeding up shale [would] mean more jobs and opportunities for people and help ensure long-term economic and energy security for [the] country.”
I understand your point, Minister Hancock, but what about the other side of the coin? Three years ago, 1.5- and 2.3-magnitude earthquakes shut down all fracking operations in Blackpool. Research has found that wastewater from fracking operations is highly toxic, even radioactive, which is a danger to anyone who relies on clean soil and water (read: every living thing on the planet). Three years later and apparently no one has learned the lesson, as Minister Hancock prefaced the previous quote with the words, “Done right.”
You’re kidding, right? Fracking CAN NOT be “done right.” In spite of any short term economic benefits that cheap natural gas may seem to offer, the long term costs are unavoidable and cannot be ignored. “Pay now or pay forever,” is a saying that I’ve been working on for a number of years. Investing in renewable energy may be slightly more expensive, but it doesn’t incur future expenses in the form of earthquake damage repairs, water pollution and soil contamination remediation, lung cancer treatments, and the list goes on. The new regulations, if you can call them that, say that national parks and other sensitive areas will be protected unless there are *cough* “exceptional circumstances.” Indeed, what could be more “exceptional” than profits?
Photo credit: The Prime Minister’s Office