Green NGOs, EU Bureaucrats Trying To Stop Shale Development

Britain Would Make ‘Big Mistake’ To Shun Shale Revolution, David Cameron Warns

By Dr. Benny Peiser—— Bio and Archives--August 9, 2013

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British Prime Minister David Cameron warned Thursday that Europe was “missing out big time” on fracking and Britain would be making a “big mistake” if it shunned shale gas extraction. Cameron said hydraulic fracturing could bring cheaper gas prices, as he compared the number of wells being drilled in the European Union to the United States. “In the whole of the European Union last year, 100 shale gas wells were dug. At the same time in the US there were 10,000,” he told an audience in Darwen, Northwest England. “The EU has about three-quarters as much shale gas as the US so we are missing out big time at the moment and I want to make sure that Britain does not miss out.”—AFP, 9 August 2013

Public perception is tilting in favour of the UK exploiting its rich shale gas reserves, according to a survey conducted by the University of Nottingham. Could it be that the presence of the celebs and hysterical reporting is actually working in shale’s favour? It’s not impossible, and there’s a precedent. The Daiichi Fukushima nuclear accident of 2011 received similarly hysterical media coverage, after which public support for nuclear energy rose to an all-time high. This is possibly an environmental journalist’s worst nightmare. For 40 years they’ve lobbed scare stories at the public and watched them explode. Now the public appears increasingly inclined to throw them right back. Thanks to the internet, far more information is available to us to make a rational, informed decision. Whatever frightened the public before just doesn’t seem to work any more.—Andrew Orlowski, The Register, 8 August 2013

Britain’s Environment Agency (EA) proposed new guidance on Friday that could further delay the already lengthy application process for launching shale and other unconventional oil and gas exploration. In a technical guidance document on its website, the EA proposed taking longer than normal to decide whether to give an environmental permit for onshore oil and gas exploration if a site is of “high public interest”. If approved, the agency said that the new guidance could increase the time scale for granting environmental permits from the current 13 weeks to six months or more to give it time to consult properly with local communities.—Nina Chestney, Reuters, 9 August 2013

So, with what seem to be the largest shale reserves in Europe – and maybe, who knows, in the world – we are a lucky people. Or so you might suppose. But that is to reckon without the two ugly sisters who are determined that Cinderella shall not go to the ball. The first is an influential quango, the Environment Agency, headed by Labour peer Lord Smith, which (to some extent at the behest of the European Union) is busy inventing one phoney reason after another why the extraction of shale gas should not be given planning permission. The second ugly sister is the Department of Energy and Climate Change, under its Liberal Democrat Secretary of State Ed Davey, and its Energy Bill now before Parliament.—Nigel Lawson, The Sun, 9 July 2013

The coalition was slow to grasp the importance of shale. The Liberal Democrat control of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the vestiges of Cameroon greenery meant that little progress was made in its first few years in power; there was even a moratorium on fracking for a year as the government assessed whether it caused too much seismic activity. But George Osborne, Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and Business and Energy Minister Michael Fallon have stopped the government from dragging its feet. A relatively attractive tax regime and a streamlined regulatory process for shale exploration are now in place. But shale still has its opponents. Various environmental non-governmental organisations are trying to use the European Union to stop fracking. In a position paper put out last year, they declared that ‘the development of unconventional gas within the EU runs counter to EU treaty obligations’.—James Forsyth, The Spectator, 10 August 2013

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Guest Column Dr. Benny Peiser -- Bio and Archives | Comments

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