Much is being made about Hydraulic Fracturing (fracking) for oil and gas. The SNP members and supporters love nothing more that perpetuating the many myths involved with this industry.
First, let’s look at what fracking actually is. The video below shows how the process is actually done. Pay attention the how they “case” (line) the hole drilled. They line it with steel pipe, and cement it in place over its entire length.
Fracking: The Myths
Myth 1. Polluted groundwater.
In the UK, onshore drillers double case the holes. That means two layers of steel, and two layers of cement between the hole, and the outside world. There cannot be any leakage into groundwater.
In Scotland, we get out water off the hills and mountains anyway. Your drinking water could not possibly be polluted.
Myth 2. Earthquakes.
Fracking does not cause earthquakes. Earthquakes are caused be two or more of the earth’s tectonic plates slipping against each other. That’s billions of times more energy than fracking uses. In the rare cases when fracking is felt on the surface, the tremor is no worse than a lorry driving past your house. 90% of the time, nothing is felt at all. The actual fracturing of the shale only takes 1-7 days. That’s followed up by 20-40 years of oil and/or gas production. The UK experiences over 100 minor quakes quakes of about 1.5 to 2 on the Richter Scale every year without any damage to property. If fracking reaches 0.6, they must stop work by law.
Myth 3. Sink Holes.
Sink holes are not caused by fracking. Sink holes are caused by water erosion of limestone close to the earth’s surface. Fracking happens 2000m plus below the surface, well below the groundwater level where limestone erosion takes place.
Myth 4. Gas coming from your taps.
The makers of a video “Gaslands” managed to get some footage of burning gas coming from someone’s kitchen taps. They blamed fracking for gas getting into the water supply. There was indeed gas in the water. However, the gas did not come from fracking, it was actually Marsh Gas dissolved into water that had seeped down into the water table. This was proven by the US Geological Society.
Myth 5. Westminster have authorised drilling in Scotland.
No, they have not. All Westminster has done is issue licences to give exclusive rights to drill for particular blocks (areas of land or sea). They cannot authorise actual onshore drilling in Scotland. Drilling can only take place once the proper planning permission has been granted. That is given by Local authorities, subject to SEPA approving the environmental aspects. Should Holyrood not be happy with drilling at any particular site, they can call in the planning application, and overturn it. Holyrood has the final say.
Myth 6. Westminster has authorised drilling under your home without your permission.
Not strictly true. Westminster have changed the regulations on when permission is needed. If the horizontal part of the drilling is below 2000m (1.24 miles) down, they do not need to seek permission. Above 2000m, the drilling company must have written authorisation from the landowner.
Fracking: The Truth
In the UK, fracking is only carried out to the strictest of standards. The drilling and production regulation, and the environmental protection legislation are the strictest anywhere.
We have, in fact, been fracking in the UK for over 50 years. These sites have operated perfectly safely, and had no complaints from local residents. One of the sites just happens to be the largest oil field in Western Europe.
The first site we’ll look at is at Beckingham in Nottinghamshire. This site has been operating for over 50 years. It is right next to RSPB Beckingham, and powers 21,000 homes. There’s been no complaints from the local residents, and the wildlife in the area is thriving.
The site was first fracked in 1963, and again in 1989. In its 50+ years, it’s been fracked 4 times.
This article from the Daily Mail give more information on the site.
Another site is at Wytch Farm in Dorset. This site is the largest oil field in Western Europe. Again, there’s a nearby nature reserve with thriving wildlife.
This is a comment from a local resident
“Tony and Kate Bryan, both retired, from Corfe Castle, the village two miles north of the oilfield, have been on one of the visits to Furzey Island to see the oil refinery in action. Mr Bryan said occasionally you see a drilling rig poking above the trees or a “nodding donkey” on the coast but most people do not know it is there. We have never had any seismic impact that we are aware of and you have to get your oil from somewhere. It is all very well saying not in my backyard but it has been very well done.”
More information can be found at:
As you can see from the info above, we already operate fracking sites, and do it safely. These sites can be set up and operated without issues to local residents. The “Prophets of Doom” would have you believe that our lives would end with fracking. I think both sites above prove them very wrong.
Fracking and the SNP
For months now we’ve had the anti-fracking “Prophets of Doom” telling us that we should vote SNP to get control of fracking in Scotland.
The truth is, Holyrood already can control fracking through the planning process. The problem for them is, the SNP doesn’t want to stop fracking in Scotland.
The Greens put forward a motion on energy to Holyrood that included a call to ban fracking in Scotland. John Swinney removed the clause on the ban and pushed through the motion. Read this article, paragraph 4 in particular.
Then of course, we have Nicola Sturgeon being asked about fracking during one of her Q&A sessions on Facebook. She refused to commit to a ban.
And of course, there’s no show without Punch. Salmond has also shown his support for fracking by refusing to ban it.
Read this article.
The very uncomfortable truth for SNP members and supporters is that the party backs fracking, but cant show too much public support, as they would haemorrhage voters and members.
The SNP certainly want fracking, but more importantly, they want the money it generates.
A vote for the SNP IS a vote in support of fracking.