Monthly Archives: August 2015

No conditions proposed on 59 drilling licences near top wildlife sites | Drill or Drop

the government don't care about wildlife, they just want to get on with fracking

The government proposes to issue 59 oil and gas licences in areas close to the UK’s most important wildlife sites with no conditions on the activities of operators.

The licences make up just under half the blocks that will be released following a public consultation currently underway.

Most are in Yorkshire, the East Midlands and Lancashire. Many are within a few kilometres of ecologically-sensitive areas, such as the Wash, Humber Estuary, Flamborough Head, North York Moors, Gibraltar Point and the River Derwent.

Another 73 licences (55% of the total), which either contain important wildlife sites or are within 1km, will be issued with conditions. This could prohibit exploration, development or production at or the near surface in part of the block.

The details are included in consultation documents published earlier this month by the Oil and Gas Authority, an agency of the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The consultation runs until the end of September.

Together, the 132 licences make up a second tranche of blocks to be issued under the 14th Oil and Gas Licensing Round. They underwent an assessment because they were within 10km of wildlife sites protected by the Habitat Regulations.

These sites include:

  • Special Protection Areas, designated to protect Europe’s rare and vulnerable birds, such as Liverpool Bay
  • Special Areas of Conservation, designated to protect Europe’s rarest habitats and species, such the River Wye
  • Ramsar Sites, designated to protect internationally-important wetlands, such as the Severn Estuary

The assessment under the Habitat Regulations looked only at the impact on the habitats and species of the sites.

The first tranche of licences, comprising 27 blocks, were not included in the consultation because oil and gas developments were not regarded as having any likely significant impact on the wildlife sites.

Granting a licence gives an operator exclusive right to search or drill for oil and gas. But it does not give permission to drill. If permission were granted under planning and environmental permit regulations other conditions would be likely.

Please click on this link to continue reading original article

Life around New Mexico’s gas wells: how fracking is turning the air foul | The Guardian

fracking poisons the air

Shirley ‘Sug’ McNall in front of a production gas well in Aztec, New Mexico. “We live in a toxic community,” she says. Photograph: Jeffrey Barbee

Leaked methane and other toxic gases are polluting the air with serious health risks for local communities whose fortunes depend on oil and gas in the shale boom state.

“My daughter has asthma. She is not the only one around here, something is wrong here, our air quality shouldn’t be this way.”

Shirley “Sug” McNall is leaning up against a fence staring at a natural gas well about 40 meters from a playground behind the primary school where her daughter used to teach in Aztec, New Mexico. She believes that the gas industry and the explosion of fracking in her state is responsible for serious impacts on local air quality which are affecting people’s health.

Her fears were boosted last year when Nasa satellites identified a methane bubble over Aztec visible from space. The bubble suggests that during drilling and production the natural gas industry is not capturing all of the gas they unlock from deep in the ground and significant amounts of this methane and other chemicals are leaking into the sky. McNall believes that other more dangerous gasses are being released too.

Northern New Mexico’s San Juan county has been the centre of intense fossil fuel extraction for decades. Here, oil, gas and coal are all pulled out of the ground. Until now, many people blamed only the coal for the bad air. That was before people like McNall and three of her friends – who call themselves the “Four Grams” – got involved and started waking people up to the danger of the 20,000 wells in their community.

Please click here to continue to original article on The Guardian website.

”De Facto Ban on Fracking in Wales” – and what it could really mean… | Bridgend’s Green Leftie

 

screen-shot-2015-08-07-at-19-09-08

  • The UK Government will no longer issue licences for gas extraction in Wales, at the request of the Welsh Government.
  • This appears too give Welsh Government the power over granting such licences, if it sees fit.
  • It also would appear to give them the power to impose a moratorium or ban if it so decided.

Notice the big “ifs” in these statements.

Despite what you might read in some papers (e.g. The Daily Post) this news does not represent a ‘de facto fracking ban’ at all.

In fact this news only goes to underline the fact that until these powers are transferred, the supposed moratorium on fracking in Wales simply does not exist – despite the misreporting of the vote in February, tabled by Plaid Cymru, to agree to the principle of a moratorium. Labour’s Planning Minister, Carl Sargent, was shamelessly spinning these events in claiming the powers to impose a moratorium, called out by Gareth Clubb from Friends of the Earth Cymru…

First Minister Carwyn Jones has never said more than he would ‘consider a moratorium’ if he ever had the powers to impose one. Well, the Welsh Labour government no longer has the option of sitting on the fence and using its default “It’s all Westminster’s fault” position. We should be able to expect an unambiguous statement of policy and intent regarding fracking and dirty fossil fuel technologies, from all the Parties aspiring to have a say in government in Wales after next year’s Assembly elections.

Please click the following link to continue to the original source of this article, a blog post from Bridgend’s Green Leftie.

Cuadrilla set to relocate HQ to Lancashire

A ‘cheeky’ reference depicting Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan and Cuadrilla’s suspected intentions to dump nuclear waste under the guise of ‘seismic testing’.

Didn’t they hear us say NO? Perhaps we need to shout it louder!

Energy firm Cuadrilla has announced it will relocate its headquarters as a ’viable symbol’ of its commitment to shale gas exploration. After announcing last month they would be appealing against the decisions made by Lancashire County Council to refuse permission to explore shale gas at two sites, the company has now said it is moving its management and operational team from the current office in Staffordshire to an ’unconfirmed’ location in Lancashire.

Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla said: “Relocating our headquarters to the North West is not only a visible symbol of our continued commitment to exploration for shale gas in Lancashire but will enable an even greater focus in growing our supplier base and employees from the area. “Whilst we are currently at the start of an appeals process regarding our Lancashire planning applications, we are confident that shale gas exploration will bring many benefits to the region that include our own direct investment in local people and suppliers for our new head office.” Lancashire County Council rejected two planning applications for Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood in June, 2015.

Please click here to continue to full article on fginsight.com

Verdict on Barton Moss contamination case due 7th Sept | Salford Star

fracking walkden barton moss placard

COURT FINALLY HEARS EVIDENCE ABOUT CONTAMINATION AT BARTON MOSS

At Manchester Magistrates Court today in the trial of more than 40 people arrested during the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss the court heard evidence about contamination at Barton Moss in Salford. A verdict on the evidence will now be heard in court on September 7th.

New evidence was heard today as a part of a trial of more than 40 people arrested during the anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss in Spring 2014. The new report discussed historical contamination of land surrounding the iGas site, of glacial clay that was excavated when the drilling pad was constructed and of contaminants found in the drainage ditch alongside the compound. After last weeks adjournments where the prosecutions barrister failed to attend, (see Salford Star article – click here) Manchester Magistrates Court finally heard evidence from the prosecution’s expert witness, Sarah Scott, of the Environment Agency and the expert witness for the defence, environmental scientist, Dr Aidan Foley.

Their evidence came after initial findings that were heard in March showed dangerously high levels of toxic PAHs on the land surrounding the iGas compound. These include acenaphthylene, anthracene, benz[a]anthracene and chrysene – toxic carcinogenic substances which have major affects on human health, as well as on livestock and crops. Until March Dr Foley had been refused access back onto the site by both Peel Holdings, the owners of the land, and iGas despite needing to get more samples so that he could identify the actual source of the contamination. Since then Dr Foley has been allowed back on to the site and todays hearing heard his report. A verdict on this report is now being considered and will be heard in court on September 7th.

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