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A Magazine for Sheffield

Fracking: Frack off

The coalition claimed when they entered power that this would be the greenest government ever. This is up there with the idea that Xenu brought his people to Earth 75 billion years ago in a spaceship strikingly similar to that of a 1950s jumbo jet and killed them with hydrogen bombs near a big volcano (disclaimer to any scientologists reading: I'm sorry if this offends you, but the British government does not accept you as a religious organisation and I think it is a farce, so you should probably stop reading now). Other ludicrous claims that Cameron and Clegg asserted before the election: 'No top down reorganisation of the NHS' and the classic 'abolition of tuition fees'. Smell the bullshit yet? David Cameron's latest plan to make this country self sustainable in the years ahead involves an army of gas wells on the British coast near Blackpool which have to date caused two earthquakes. A body of three independent experts concluded that this method was safe in a consultation which critics have deemed insufficient. It seems incongruous that the long-term energy plan for the United Kingdom potentially involves a vast network of hundreds, if not thousands of these wells around our coastline, each of which could cause regular earthquakes. The history of man holds many cautionary lessons for us. It is hard to ignore the notion that thousands of earthquakes across our coastline could have severe consequences for our nation's ecosystem. Numerous projections show that Britain will be in a fortunate position when facing the changes to the earth in the coming century. We should not make light of this in search of a short-term political and technological fix, risking vast and unknown dangers for future generations. Shale gas is not the answer. Yes, it is wrong that Britain is in the thrall of Russia for much of its energy demands, but this is the failure of successive governments, not just the last or present. As a nation we are poor at planning for the decades ahead. Germany recently voted to outlaw the building of new nuclear power plants but happily relies on France for its energy needs, which has no such qualms about being nuclear. The energy market is full of contradictions. A couple of years ago British Gas announced that their profits had increased by 100% in a year, not long after they increased prices by 33%. Such cases are manifold. In early May, it was announced that the Obama administration was to introduce new rules which critics say do not go far enough, and in fact pander to the energy industry. Under the guidelines, companies in the US engaging in fracking will for the first time have to state what chemicals have been used in the process. This is akin to telling someone that the stuffing in the roast chicken they just ate "had a few nuts in, so have fun at the hospital". The environmental arguments against fracking are numerous. Around 40,000 gallons of liquid is used for each hydraulic fracturing process, containing up to 600 chemicals, including numerous toxins and carcinogens. This is then pressure injected down a pipeline up to 10,000 feet below ground level, causing the shale rock to crack, creating fissures through which natural gas flows into the well. Toxic chemicals and methane gas often escape into the local water supply - methane concentrations in water are 17 times higher than average around fracking sites. Over 1,000 cases of sensory, respiratory and neurological damage have been recorded near fracking sites. Only 30-50% of the fracking fluid is recovered. The process extracts around 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day. The greenest government ever? Far from it. That statement is yet another hollow platitude uttered for the purposes of electioneering. The British people have been subjugated by big business and this is just another example. If you truly care about the fate of the earth, don't rely on this vacuous government - be the change you want to see in the world. Many thanks to for scientific documentation. )

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