Fracking is Flagging – So Keep Up the Pressure!


Inside the United States, the Fracking industry (hydraulic fracturing) has undergone a boom despite its catastrophic effect on the environment and human and animal life.  Pumping massive quantities of water together with a secret cocktail of chemicals at high pressure into the ground fractures rocks and releases deposits of gas and oil. However, this wasteful use of important water resources also contaminates ground water supplies and leads to the degradation and impoverishment of other economic resources, such as farming. At the moment a draft rule is under consideration by the US Department of the Interior which would allow drilling companies to keep secret the chemicals used until after hydraulic fracturing is completed

Yet, the circumstances facing the Frackers in the USA is not replicated elsewhere. The population density, and environmental restrictions are different in other countries of the world, particularly in Europe. These facts have been creating difficulties for this despoiling gas extraction process. The main western investors such as ExxonMobile, Chevron, Beitling Oil and Gas and ConocoPhillips having grabbed multiple licenses to drill in many countries are being vigorously opposed. In addition the costs of this process are rapidly growing along with the difficulties involved.

For example, the costs of extraction in Poland are 3 times that of the US. In other countries it could be up to nine times the US extraction costs. European shale basins are smaller, often spread in difficult shapes and frequently near to high population centres. Importantly France banned Fracking in July last year and cancelled exploration permits held by Total and Schuepbach Energy early this year. Bulgaria has done the same after public demonstration against the practice in the Capital Sofia. Cuadrilla Resources suspended drilling here in the UK after minor earthquakes in the North West occurred.

Unlike in the USA and China, Fracking is on the back foot in Europe. However,  residents associations and campaign groups should keep up their opposition to this latest capitalist exploitation industry, in the knowledge that economics and environmental concerns are on their side. Always remembering that these companies have huge resources and considerable influence – so things can always change in their favour. Wigan Green Socialist group, are to be congratulated for  playing an important part in increasing the awareness of the effects of this process to a wider audience.

Roy Ratcliffe. (Also at http://www.critical-mass.net)

Video footage from last September’s Camp Frack anti-fracking demonstration at Hesketh Bank between Southport and Preston.

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2 Responses to Fracking is Flagging – So Keep Up the Pressure!

  1. Striebs says:

    I thought the Socialist Party would be in favour of jobs and lower fuel prices .

    As for a “secret cocktail” of toxic chemical’s this is not the case in the UK or Europe where hydraulic fracturing has been going on without incident for over 50 years .

    The evidence for all this supposed environmental destruction is just not there . Gotta be better to extract our own hydrocarbons that patronise the House of Saud and Gazprom hasn’t it ?

    We need progress and you can’t get it by banning things outright as a matter of course .
    We only get progress by solving the problems and managing the risks like we do with flying .

  2. Stephen Hall says:

    I can’t speak for the Socialist Party, however, as far as the Wigan Borough Green Socialist are concerned we are in favour of both jobs and lower fuel prices. The question is what type of jobs and what type of fuel, and at what cost? We are against low paid, dead and jobs, which cost the Earth. We are for lower priced energy as a result of an abundant supply of renewable energy. If we invested in developing that, and in a massively expanded, fully integrated free public transport then there would be no need for us to be reliant on anyone, and we could create million back to work in the process. There is no need to manage the risks associated with fracking, when we don’t actually need it, it adds to greenhouses emissions rather than reducing them and therefore doesn’t tackle one iota the issue of climate change, and whether you agree or not, with the other additional environmental risks associated with it, which most of us are convinced of.

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