UK shale gas exploration can resume with proper monitoring

Britain Gives Shale Gas Fracking Green Light


By Dr. Benny Peiser —— Bio and Archives April 17, 2012

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The UK government on Tuesday backed the exploration of shale gas nearly one year after it temporarily banned the drilling method which triggered two earthquakes in Britain but that has also revolutionised the U.S. energy market. An expert report commissioned by the government said shale gas fracking, a process where pressurised water and chemicals are pumped underground to open shale rocks and release trapped gas, was safe to resume with tighter rules on seismic monitoring and drilling surveys.—Alessandra Prentice, Reuters, 17 April 2012

Lancashire is set to become the centre of Britain’s energy future, after regulators gave the green light for fracking to return. A report published today by the Department for Energy and Climate Change said that energy giant Cuadrilla Resources should be allowed to restart work at its drilling rig in the Lancashire countryside.—Lancashire Evening Post, 17 April 2012

Chris Huhne in particular is renowned for his uninhibited antagonism towards natural gas. At the Liberal Democrat party conference in Birmingham last week he promised to halt a new “dash for gas” because it would undermine the UK’s unilateral climate targets. David Cameron would be well advised not to allow his green minister to squander Britain’s golden shale gas opportunity. –Benny Peiser, Public Service Europe, 27 September 2011

Ministers have been advised to allow the controversial practice of fracking for shale gas to be extended in Britain, despite it causing two earthquakes and the emergence of serious doubts over the safety of the wells that have already been drilled. The advice of the first official British government report into fracking, published on Tuesday, is all but certain to be accepted by ministers, with the result that thousands of new wells could be drilled across the UK. Some groups – including The Global Warming Policy Foundation, the climate-sceptic thinktank led by Lord Lawson – have been enthusiastically advocating the take-up of the technology. But residents in the areas affected have been mobilising against the plans.—Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, 17 April 2012

Many of those who oppose fracking do so not on the basis of the evidence, but out of a more general hostility to fossil fuels. Yet shale gas is relatively clean, and far more secure than other supplies. Sadly, our enthusiasm (in contrast to the Americans’) has been distinctly half-hearted.—Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, 17 April 2012

Can the green lobby win the shale gas argument over environmental objections? I don’t think it can. Ten or 20 years ago it could have won when governments were willing to burn billions, but the economic climate has changed, we’re facing the biggest crisis in decades. No government in the world would give up this opportunity, not even the British government, which is very green indeed. I don’t think the Greens have a leg to stand on when it comes to shale. Shale shouldn’t have any big problem and in all likelihood the government will grasp it with both hands. I cannot foresee a situation where Europe will forgo this golden opportunity.—Benny Peiser, Natural Gas Europe, 25 October 2011

All the mandatory elements of the government’s green deal for homes are to be scrapped following an intervention by the prime minister. The decision, which is a blow for the Liberal Democrats, means that the government will reject proposals currently out for consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government that would have required homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient if they were undertaking home improvements, such as extending a garage or replacing windows.—Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 17 April 2012

Russia’s interest in Britain’s nuclear renaissance has prompted a series of high-level Downing Street meetings as concerns mount within the intelligence services about its potential involvement. A senior source who has attended meetings with officials in Downing Street said: “The Government and intelligence services are freaked about the Russians being potentially involved.”—Tracey Boles, Express on Sunday, 15 April 2012


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