The future of the UK’s fracking hopes hang in the balance today as MPs scrutinise the Infrastructure Bill including a proposed amendment for a “moratorium on the hydraulic fracturing of shale gas deposits” as called for by the Environmental Audit Committee published last Friday. Coincidental timing.
To say the EAC report on the environmental risks of fracking is unduly influenced by the loony green lobby would be somewhat of an understatement. The report balances an assurance from the Environment Agency “that the use of ‘hazardous substances’ for any activity, including hydraulic fracturing, would not be permitted where they would or might enter groundwater and cause pollution” with a counter-claim from ‘Frack Off Fife’ that: “Water’s natural ability to permeate rock means the contaminated waters will eventually find clean/natural/ground waters and thus, contaminate them“. Frack Off Fife appears to be nothing more than a small group of Scottish hippies with a Facebook group.
The lack of hard evidence in the report is nothing short of astonishing. At one point it even counters Public Health England’s conclusion that the “currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to the emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low” with a claim by Green Party member Philip Mitchell that he had “surveyed people” in Yorkshire and was concerned that there have been an increase in respiratory problems. The “surveys” weren’t submitted.
Perhaps most puzzling is EAC’s claim that “Extensive production of unconventional gas through fracking is inconsistent with the UK’s obligations under the Climate Change Act and its carbon budgets regime“, a claim so spurious that even even the lefty wonks at the IPCC disagree, stating last year that it was “quite clear that shale gas can be very consistent with low carbon development and decarbonisation“. Every scientific fact is countered by ideological hippy anecdotes.