Green Party Opposes Shale Gas Drilling

The Green Party is concerned by the news that energy firm Cuadrilla Resources intends to begin drilling up to 400 wells in Lancashire to extract shale gas using a process known as “fracking.”

Cuadrilla claims that shale gas extraction could provide 5,600 jobs in the UK. However, in addition to posing many extremely serious environmental concerns, it would not create as many jobs per kWh as investment in renewable energy (1).

The jobs likely to be created by shale gas extraction are highly skilled, so although there would be some stimulation of the local economy, most of the jobs directly created would not be filled by local unemployed workers. The local economy could also be hurt by this fracking, not helped, if a pollution incident occurred in the agricultural area.

Fracking is a highly controversial process that has caused many problems in the US, including polluting drinking water, causing illness, and leading to earthquakes (2).

Two minor earthquakes occurred in the Blackpool area in June, leading the fracking to be temporarily halted – however, although an investigation is still underway, the drilling has since recommenced (3).

Councillor Andrew Cooper, Green Party spokesperson on energy, said, “Saving energy in homes is much more important than risky industries like shale gas, and would create many more jobs. Our government talks about saving energy in homes, but then we drill when we should be reducing fossil fuels.

“A truly Green Government would get its priorities right by investing in energy efficiency now rather than more exotic ways of extracting fossil fuels.”

Campaigners across the UK have demanded a moratorium on drilling for shale gas, citing the numerous health hazards and dire environmental consequences.

Keith Ross of Swansea Green Party added, “In America there have been examples in which the well has had to be blown out and explosive liquid has spilled out onto the ground, which causes a fire hazard and pollution hazard. The pollution has many different ways of getting into the ground; gas is dissolved in water and can find its way into the watercourse.

“There has been little interest at any level of government in public safety and the impact on the environment and in the potential for contamination of drinking water”.

Notes:

(1) Daniel M. Kammen, Kamal Kapadia, and Matthias Fripp (2004) Putting Renewables to Work: How Many Jobs Can the Clean Energy Industry Generate? RAEL Report, University of California, Berkeley.

(2)http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/732908/uk_urged_to_ban_controversial_fracking_gasextraction.html

(3) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-14990573

 

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