Jerry Brown, the Californian Governor, is moving to halt wastewater dumping into the state’s aquifers from up to 30 injection wells. These fracking operations are not only using great amounts of drought-stricken California’s water, but carelessly dumping where freshwater aquifers have been contaminated.
Further afield, the UK energy minister, Owen Paterson, has regularly pushed his right-wing party further in the fracking debate, without too much objection, from them at least. “Desolate parts” of the small country should be used for fracking, according to some in his party. The rest of the world, however is deeply concerned with this water pollution, mini-quakes and land rights.
We need an international approach to all fracking and similar “undermining” of the need to escape from our fossil fuel addiction. While dinosaurs might have retained their opinions on how climate change would not affect them, thinking humans need to improve on our dismal record of air pollution. CO2 alone has almost directly caused a temperature rise approaching 2oC. We have finally realised, apart from one or two politicians, many of the links this has with vast changes in our environment, both now and more so in the future.
In the US fracking has long been acquiring a terrible reputation, which people like Patterson pretend to ignore. The great white hope for him is destined to become an even larger grey cloud. Highly pressurised water, sand and chemicals including the carcinogens benzene and toluene are used and released in these hidden, but dirty, operations. The Central Valley Water Board in California has found half of its wells with excessive amounts of toxic chemicals. Some way has to be found there quickly to dispose of waste water in safe ways, well separated from natural aquifers.
In the UK, the outgoing government seems desperate to copy some of Europe’s fossil fans, and the American dream of cheap fuels. The “vigorous anti fracking campaign” has persuaded them that their opponents are exaggerating their argument. Take some bribe money from the frackers and enjoy the cheap energy seems to be their only argument! Perhaps the local Scottish example and the German and Italian non-renewable approach would appeal more to those voters who don’t seem to be particularly fond of people who also claim they have no rights to prevent fracking under their land. If this government repeal the Climate Change Act of 2008, flouting the EU’s approach completely, perhaps that will be their last desperate act!
Fracking seems bound to go on, but what a pity that people have to rediscover consequences that have been clearly shown in comparable situations for decades. Do they really believe that any fuel company is going to clean up, after all of the recorded quakes, contaminations and spills?
This is a simple report on an apparently successful campaign in leafy parts of England, known as Fracking Nonsense.