The Ins and Outs of Fracking

By Hamish Wills

Fracking is being sold to us by the energy providers via their intermediary, the government, as a source of energy to tide us over until we reach sustainability. We’re told it is less polluting than oil, and there are hundreds of years of supplies available. Is this really the case?

In the process a mixture of water, sand and highly toxic chemicals are injected at very high pressure into tiny underground rock fissures to force the yield of gas, petroleum and uranium solution. Since the chemicals remain trapped in the bore pipes, we are assured they will not seep into our water supplies.

The pipes are protected by a one inch thick concrete shell. It is a fact however, not a chance, that 5% of liners fracture, which means the process guarantees the pollution of water supplies. It doesn’t take a lot of toxicity to make water unusable.

The cracks mean methane coming up with the fractured gas escapes, which explains why in some cases watering hoses in properties close to sites both in the US and Australia ignite when put to the match. As well, the large amount of methane fracturing produces has a far more harmful greenhouse effect than the gas the business is about.

It’s not so easy to say no if we don’t the energy company’s business. They are immensely powerful corporations able to bend governments to their will. Already they have David Cameron saying he will alter our ancient laws of trespass to enable drilling to go on under our properties, and George Osborne letting local councils off tax if they grant planning permission. In the US they have successfully fought against having to state the chemicals used in the process, thereby leaving whole towns unable to prove fracking has made their water undrinkable.

Energy companies stop at no one. There are examples of countryside despoiliation and pollution just outside the wealthiest parts of Los Angeles, and expensive new build country piles in other places being rendered uninhabitable and valueless through water pollution.

Is it a stop gap measure on the road to sustainability? Will giving addicts more of their poison help them get off it? I don’t think so. To get back to good health they need support to make difficult choices and unless they take them, they won’t get better. The only beneficiaries will be the poison manufacturers , and what a position they’re in with law makers bending over backwards to make it easy for them.

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