WRITE TO YOUR COUNCILLOR TO ASK WHY THEY’RE HAPPY TO TALK TO THE INDUSTRY ABOUT FRACKING BUT NOT THE PEOPLE THEY REPRESENT
Use this fabulous service to send this template letter to all our local councillors asking them to speak with us, instead of industry big wigs, about fracking in the Tameside area.
Please take the time to personalise your response if you can.
I write with deep concern about the prospect of hydraulic fracturing and coal bed methane extraction in the Tameside area, which is being considered for license under the 14th Onshore and Offshore round by the Department of Energy and Climate change, so it is natural that we would like to seek the councils view on it.
Our neighbouring county of Kirklees has proactively banned hydraulic fracturing and CBM extraction, in recognition of the dangers it poses, and it is my hope that a ban is something Tameside councillors will be happy to discuss, as many I have spoken with have expressed that they are against hydraulic fracturing and coal bed methane extraction.
I therefore find it strange that councillors John Taylor and Gill Peet have chosen to educate themselves about the industry, not by sitting down with well-informed and concerned constituents that they represent but by paying £450 a ticket to attend industry-led conferences where there is either no or only one voice there that is truly objective and without vested interests in seeing the industry pushed through.
Certainly Councillor Taylor seems to be under the impression that the industry will bring lots of opportunities to skill people up for jobs. This is not the case, the employment estimates of between 15-32,000 are a mean figure taken between the report published by Cuadrilla and similar published by the Institute of Directors (which is widely accepted to be a massive over-estimate) at 70,000 jobs.
Cuadrilla’s 2011 Regeneris report estimated that test well activity might support 250 FTE jobs across the UK over a twelve month period. Also at the UK Level, the estimated FTE employment impact peaks at some 5,600 FTE jobs in the period 2016 through to 2019, with upward increment in the years from 2013 onwards, should there be a move to a commercial extraction phase. The SEA that accompanies the 14th Licensing Round acknowledges only 15% of these jobs will be taken locally in induced rather than direct employment. Furthermore, the inflated assessment of employment benefits isn’t balanced by the data relating to the health risks to those who are employed in this industry by exposure to radioactive substances and crystalline silica exposure – a health time-bomb similar to that suffered by workers exposed to asbestos.
The revenue of £100k per well, 1% of revenue and 100% retention of business rates for local councils are less generous than the revenues offered in America, where the cost of damage caused by the industry far outstripped the revenue it created. Case studies from Texas demonstrate that local governments benefitted temporarily from increased tax revenues during drilling booms, but costs to repair road damage sometimes ran into millions of dollars, outweighing the short-term bonus. In 2012, the State of Texas received about $3.6 billion in severance taxes from all oil and gas produced in the state (from conventional wells as well as those in fracked shale). But during that same year, the Texas Department of Transportation estimated damage to Texas roads from drilling operations at $4 billion. Arkansas has taken in roughly $182 million in severance taxes since 2009, but costs from road damage associated with drilling are estimated at $450 million. Roads designed to last 20 years are requiring major repairs after only 5 years due to the constant stream of overweight vehicles ferrying equipment and water to and from fracking sites. Furthermore, the cost of clean-ups have been left to the taxpayer, with the industry sidestepping proposals for a bond, leaving communities and the public purse vulnerable.
The amount of gas under the UK is only predicted to last 56-years at best, with each well exhausted within the space of 20 years. Short term gains exploited for long term damage to land water and a communities health is one I am sure no public servant would wish to leave as their legacy to the community whose best interests they represent.
In America and Australia the fracking industry has had a 6-9 year foothold with irrevocable consequences on the environment, health of the population and planet. The first fracking trial has just seen the Parr family of Texas awarded with $3M in compensation by Aruba Petroleum, seven states have confirmed water contamination from fracking and one of our most eminent geophysicists, Professor Emeritus David K Smythe of the University of Glasgow, has stated categorically, in evidence submitted to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, that our geology is not compatible with the process of fracking because it is heavily faulted. This means that it is irrelevant how ‘safe and robustly regulated’ the government crows that the industry is, the geology of the UK is such that existing faults will be provide a path for methane to flow up into aquifers and to the surface – methane that is 20 x more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This fault leak problem is why fracking has been banned in France.
It is clear from the evidence of normal people around the globe that this is an industry that has caused great harm to communities, who take all the risks for none of the gain. Furthermore, the seismic risks from fracking pose particular danger to the North west which is littered with old coal minds, presenting a serious threat of subsidence, which would not be covered by buildings insurance.
We would like to discuss why we do not want this industry here with you as soon as possible, but please do take a look at the reports and research we have provided here to see why this issue is of such concern to us, which includes Frack Free Tameside’s 14-page response to the current SEA that accompanies DECC’s 14th Onshore and Offshore Licensing Round.
Frack Free Tameside are holding a screening of ‘The Truth About the Dash For Gas’ at the Seraphina Centre in Ashton Under Lyne at 7pm on Friday 23rd May, please come along and meet the people who are deeply concerned about the future of their community.
Many thanks for your time. I look forward to receiving your reply
Professor Emeritus of Geophysics David K Smythe’s report given as evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs: http://www.barcombe.org/fracking/docs/Prof%20David%20Smythe/Smythe%20shale%20gas%20submission%20to%20HoL%20v1.5.pdf
Frack Free Tameside’s response to the 14th Licensing Round SEA: https://frackfreetameside.wordpress.com/decc-consultation-reply-urgent/
The Bamberger and Oswald research around impacts of gas drilling on human and animal health: http://www.psehealthyenergy.org/data/Bamberger_Oswald_NS22_in_press.pdf
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ report on Birth outcomes and maternal residential proximity to natural gas development in rural Colorado (2014) http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/wp-content/uploads/122/1/ehp.1306722.pdf
The evidence of androgen and estrogen receptor impacts from hydraulic fracturing published by the University of Missouri 2013: http://medicine.missouri.edu/news/docs/en.2013-1697.full.pdf
The Pennsylvania Clean Air and Water Alliance, List of the Harmed: http://pennsylvaniaallianceforcleanwaterandair.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/list-of-the-harmed15.pdf