Blackwhite wrote:For sheer cheek, this did make me laugh.
eric olthwaite wrote:Casual spot of acquifer contamination in Oz.
$1500 fine? Oh, I'm sure that'll guarantee it won't happen again
The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, convened an urgent high-level meeting for the boss of fracking company Cuadrilla after a disagreement over shale gas regulation, the Guardian can reveal.
Cuadrilla's chairman, Lord Browne, had already met the Environment Agency's chair, Lord Chris Smith, at least three times to dispute whether regulations covering drilling waste applied to the company's operations. At the meeting Paterson organised at Browne's request, Smith offered to halve the consultation time for a waste permit, agreed to intervene with a county council over Cuadrilla's planning permission and to identify further risks to Cuadrilla's plans.
Paterson, widely considered a climate change sceptic, said recently: "I would like to see shale gas exploited all over rural parts of the UK. The opportunities here are enormous."
Documents released under freedom of information (FoI) rules show that on 3 June 2013 Browne, having met Smith earlier that day, then wrote to Paterson requesting an "urgent meeting". The subject, Browne said, was "Cuadrilla Resources applications to the Environment Agency (EA) for environmental permits required to progress the company's proposed shale gas exploratory activities. This is an application process that has been ongoing for the best part of a year."
Browne quickly followed up with a phonecall to Paterson and within seven days, Paterson hosted a teleconference with Browne and Cuadrilla chief executive Francis Egan, Smith, energy minister Michael Fallon and the government's lead shale gas official. In contrast, two leading renewable energy industry figures have told the Guardian their meetings with Fallon have been repeatedly postponed.
Blackwhite wrote:The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, ... widely considered a climate change sceptic,
The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, ... widely considered a climate change sceptic, said recently: "I would like to see shale gas exploited all over rural parts of the UK. The opportunities here are enormous."
Eddies Boots wrote:Blackwhite wrote:The environment secretary, Owen Paterson, ... widely considered a climate change sceptic,
WTFThe environment secretary, Owen Paterson, ... widely considered a climate change sceptic, said recently: "I would like to see shale gas exploited all over rural parts of the UK. The opportunities here are enormous."
We were once proud our "green and pleasant lands".
"The research confirms that well failure in hydrocarbon wells is an issue and that publicly available data in Europe on this seems to be sparse," said Professor Richard Davies of Durham University, and who led the team of academics who undertook the work. "In the UK, wells are monitored by well inspectors but there is no information in the public domain, so we don't really know the full extent of well failures. There were unknowns we couldn't get to the bottom of."
While a lot of well data is made public in the US, it was not detailed enough for the researchers to distinguish serious and minor well failures. "But in the UK we don't even have that," said Davies.
The study, published on Tuesday in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology, reported that 2,152 wells have been drilled onshore in the UK since 1902. But no producing shale gas wells exist yet in the UK and, for a comparison, Davies said: "It is sensible to look at the data from Pennsylvania." One dataset highlighed found that 8,030 fracking wells targetting the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania were inspected between 2005-2013 and 6.3% (506 wells) were reported for internal or external well barrier failures.
Analysis of another Pennsylvania dataset of 3,533 wells between 2008-2011 found that one-third were issued with environmental violation notices. These were mostly for surface water contamination, land spills or problems with site restoration. But 2.6% (91 wells) suffered some internal or external well barrier failures, including four blowouts. "Measurable concentrations of gas were present at the surface for most wells with casing or cementing violations," the researchers wrote.
In the UK, data provided to the researchers by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc), the Environment Agency and operating companies showed 143 onshore oil and gas wells were producing in 2000. Of nine recorded oil spills, two (at the same site) were linked to well barrier problems. "But that may be an underestimate," said Davies. "The intuition is that it is not a problem, but intuition is not good enough." The study also noted that the ownership of over half the wells drilled in the UK since 1902 was now unclear and that no monitoring was now taking place for at least two-thirds of the wells ever drilled.
Tony Bosworth, at Friends of the Earth, said the amendment would allow companies to dispose of fracking fluid, often contaminated with toxic metals and radioactive elements. “The government appears to be trying to sneak through an amendment which would allow fracking firms to reinject their waste under people’s homes and businesses. Reinjection has caused countless problems in the US and you have to question how far this government will go to make fracking a reality.”
Walport/Stirling wrote:“History presents plenty of examples of innovation trajectories that later proved to be problematic — for instance involving asbestos, benzene, thalidomide, dioxins, lead in petrol, tobacco, many pesticides, mercury, chlorine and endocrine-disrupting compounds...” it says.
“In all these and many other cases, delayed recognition of adverse effects incurred not only serious environmental or health impacts, but massive expense and reductions in competitiveness for firms and economies persisting in the wrong path.”
Thalidomide was one of the worst drug scandals in modern history, killing 80,000 babies and maiming 20,000 babies after it was taken by expectant mothers.
Fracking provides a potentially similar example today, the report warns: “... innovations reinforcing fossil fuel energy strategies — such as hydraulic fracturing — arguably offer a contemporary prospective example.”
There is a “clear feasibility of strategies built entirely around energy efficiency and renewable energy”, the report, published earlier this month, says. “Yet one of the main obstacles to this lies in high-profile self-fulfilling assertions to the contrary, including by authoritative policy figures.”
“In energy... the obstacles to less-favoured strategies [such as energy efficiency and renewables] are typically more commercial, institutional and cultural than they are technical. Among the most potent of these political obstructions are claims from partisan interests — such as incumbent nuclear or fossil fuel industries — that there is no alternative to their favoured innovations and policies.”
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