New British PM Liz Truss lifts 2019 fracking ban

Fracking could resume in England within six months

Photo: Hydraulic fracturing (aka ‘fracking’) American-style c. 2010 in Pennsylvania

Calls to resume fracking have met with ongoing resistance from campaigners who say the risk of earthquakes (see below) and water contamination, as well as extensive lorrie traffic and noise pollution, is far too great. It’s also uncertain how much gas actually lies beneath England. This new energy package was launched by the new Prime Minister only 48 hours into the job, also driving forward prospects for new energy from North Sea oil and gas, as well as nuclear, solar and wind.

We will end the moratorium on extracting our huge reserves of shale, which could get gas flowing as soon as six months where there is local support for it.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss

Interesting that she said “where there is support for it” since the British government owns all the gas rights, unlike the US where private property owners reap part of the financial rewards, and thereby boost support for drilling and fracking. Without their monthly ‘mailbox money’ from royalties, public support for fracking would largely disappear.

“Truss told parliament that her fracking drive will be contingent on “local support”. However, the most recent government polling finds that just 17% of people support fracking, compared with 90% for solar.”

CarbonBrief

Then the Twitter posts:

“From 1996 to 2000, Truss worked for Shell” Source

“It does nothing to tackle the root cause of the energy crisis – our reliance on costly, polluting fossil fuels – and only lines the pockets of the oil and gas companies driving the cost of living and climate emergencies. To bring down bills for good, we need a street-by-street insulation programme targeted at the neighbourhoods where most homes are poorly insulated.”

Mike Childs, head of science, policy and research at environmental campaigners, Friends of the Earth Source
“Dimocked”

“The government should be focusing its attention on solar and wind power the cheapest and most popular forms of energy. Alongside insulation, investment in renewable power is the best way to bring down energy prices and protect Britain’s energy supply in the long term.”

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey Source

Seismic communication protocol guidance document (5-page PDF)

Earthquakes related to hydraulic fracturing in England
In 2011, two earth tremors, measuring 1.5 and 2.3 on the Richter scale were registered at Preese Hall near Blackpool, Lancashire. After an extensive study into these events, a report published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in conjunction with the BGS concluded that this seismic activity was caused by hydraulic fracturing in the area.
In 2018 and 2019, a further programme of hydraulic fracturing was undertaken in Lancashire by Cuadrilla Resources this time at their Preston New Road site near Blackpool. Fracturing operations at the first well produced induced seismicity. During the 100 days that included the period of hydraulic fracturing, British Geological Survey data showed that there were 88 seismic events in the UK, 54 of which were associated by time and location to the hydraulic fracturing operations in Lancashire. Source

‘We will oppose this’: Truss fracking plans met with anger and dismay in Lancashire
It was not just those who live nearby who felt the 2.9-magnitude tremor in August 2019. Nearly 200 properties, including some several miles away, reported damage, according to data collected by the British Geological Survey. Preston New Road became the focal point for anti-fracking protests from across the UK as campaigners, led by a group of women calling themselves the Nanas, frustrated Cuadrilla’s operations as activists blocked roads, chained themselves to fences, and forced the police to make arrests. Tina Louise Rothery, 60, who was arrested seven times at the site, returned to Preston New Road in the Nanas’ signature yellow tabard on Thursday and vowed to “pull out all the stops” to stop fracking going ahead. Source

“It won’t just be frontline stuff. We will oppose this with legal challenges, planning applications. We will call on XR and the unions and the lines to blockade things. We will pull out all the stops. And this time we won’t settle for a moratorium either. We’re just going to keep on hammering this until we get the proper ban on fracking.”

Tina Louise Rothery
41-minute video of what drilling and fracking brought to Dimock, Pennsylvania, USA

“Those calling for [fracking’s] return misunderstand the situation we find ourselves in. If we lifted the fracking moratorium, it would take up to a decade to extract sufficient volumes – and it would come at a high cost for communities and our precious countryside. No amount of shale gas from hundreds of wells dotted across rural England would be enough to lower the European price any time soon. And with the best will in the world, private companies are not going to sell the shale gas they produce to UK consumers below the market price. They are not charities, after all.”

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, writing in the ‘Mail on Sunday’ in March 2022 Source
Shale gas wells in Pennsylvania have shown rapid production declines

“If we could frack effectively and cheaply in this country, that would be possibly a very beneficial thing. I’m just, I have to say, slightly dubious that it will prove to be a panacea. I would much rather that we focused on the things where we are brilliant, and where the environmental damage is really minimal.”

Former PM Boris Johnson, as he attacked the “dubious” claims of fracking supporters Source
Rapid decline rates put fracking on a “drilling treadmill”

“Before the fracking moratorium, the industry had 10 years of the Government ‘going all out for shale’ and giving them all the support denied to onshore wind. In that time, the frackers produced no energy for the UK but managed to create two holes in a muddy field, traffic, noise, earthquakes and enormous controversy.”

Georgia Whitaker, oil and gas campaigner for Greenpeace UK Source

MORE: Analysis: New UK Prime Minister Liz Truss’s Links to Climate Science Denial
While claiming to support net zero, the new PM is pro-fracking, plans to increase extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea and finds solar farms ‘depressing’. As environment secretary between 2014 and 2016, Truss cut subsidies for solar farms, calling them “a blight on the landscape”, and claimed – without evidence – that they were harming food production. 

Liz Truss Campaign Funded by Donors From Pro-Fracking Groups and Climate Denier

UKOOG Seismicity

UKCS Energy Integration Platform Electrification

North Sea Transition Authority – The move to net zero

UNITED STATES: Photos of Fracking in the ‘Early Years’

Risks and Harms of Fracking and Oil & Gas Infrastructure

More Leukemia in Young Children Living Near Pennsylvania Fracking Sites

Pennsylvania’s Shale Gas Boom – How Policy Decisions Failed

Fracking Public Health and Policy in Pennsylvania

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