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Monday January 30, 2012 23:20 by Charlie Williams
Fracking -Polluting your ground water forever.
After the Carndonagh and Derry screenings, the Josh Fox documentary 'Gasland http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/' was shown in the Letterkenny Regional Cultural Centre last week. A group of locals in the Inishowen area have become concerned about plans of the central government to extract gas of shale formations by a method called "fracking". Showing the Emmy Award winning documentary, Gasland is seen as an appropriate event for raising awareness.
"Fracking" film Gasland shown in Letterkenny
Further free screenings in Moville and Bunrana.
Gasland Screening Letterkenny - Some initiators of the screening
The group is worried about the trustworthiness of companies like the Australian newcomer Tamboran http://www.tamboran.com/about-us/management-team/ who are holding prospecting licences for the wider Lough Allen area. A very serious concern is that Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte announced that Aberdeen University will carry out an Environmental Impact Assessment for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Aberdeen University http://www.abdn.ac.uk/geology/research/ visibly * http://www.abdn.ac.uk/%7Ewox004/release.php?id=410 shows a conflict of interest due to ties with the oil and gas industry. "The goal is a nationwide ban of fracking as France and Hungary have put into legislation." said a concerned member of the group.
Councillors Paul Canning and Seamus O Domhnaill attended the Letterkenny screening and announced that the Donegal County Council will introduce a ban of fracking in the County Development Plan. Roscommon, Leitrim, Clare and Sligo County Councils have unanimously voted for a ban. There have been similar approaches in Fermanagh and Armagh. Minister Pat Rabbitte has told a Letterkenny County Council member, that a motion passed by councillors to include a ban on the practice in the County Plan "isn't worth the paper it is written on".
Gasland Screening Letterkenny - Cllr. Paul Canning (FF) and Cllr. Seamus O Domhnaill (FF) signing the petition against fracking
How does hydraulic fracturing work?
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction employed in deep natural gas well drilling. Once a well is drilled, millions of gallons of water, sand and proprietary chemicals are injected, under high pressure, into a well. The pressure fractures the shale and props open fissures that enable natural gas to flow more freely out of the well. A well can be fracked more than a dozen times.
What fluids and chemicals are used in the fracking process?
Generally 1-8 million gallons of water may be used to frack a well. A well may be fracked up to 18 times. For each frack, 80-300 tons of chemicals may be used from a list of far more than 700 different compounds the natural gas industry is not willing to disclose. But US scientists http://www.endocrinedisruption.com/chemicals.introducti...n.php have identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene. Many very toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. The "pollution has reached the stage where it is contaminating essential life support systems - water, air, and soil - and causing harm to the health of humans, wildlife, domestic animals, and vegetation".
Eartquakes and contamination of groundwaters
Many little explosions are causing earthquakes as high as magnitude 4 at the Richter scale *
not the only reason for groundwater contaminations by methane and chemicals *
* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZe1AeH0Qz8 . Discharge of radioactive material is a further problem *
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEB_Wwe-uBM. as the gas comes up wet in produced water and has to be separated from the wastewater and other components on the surface. Only 30-50% of the water is typically recovered from a well. This huge amount of produced water is highly toxic and must be treated as hazardous waste.
Independency from gas imports
The EU Parliament Policy Department, Economic and Scientific Policy, comes to a deflating conclusion: "Even an aggressive development of gas shales in Europe could only contribute to the European gas supplies at one-digit percentage share at best. It will not reverse the continuing trend of declining domestic production and rising import dependency. Its influence on the European greenhouse gas emissions will remain small if not negligible, or could even be negative if other more promising projects are skipped due to wrong incentives and signals." ("Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human health
France and Hungary have recently banned hydraulic fracturing by law.
About the film
"The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown."
Further screenings in Inishowen
Moville: Tuesday, 31st Jan, 7pm, Moville Library
Buncrana: Wednesday, 1st Feb, 6.30pm, Buncrana Library
All welcome. Admission free.
BP recently published a projection that North America will become almost totally self-sufficient in energy by 2030 mainly due to fracking * http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/1871d6ba-4201-11e1-a1bf-....html.
We're reading that therefore natural gas would be available for the next 130 years. Well, BP also thought their ocean oil rigs were safe and controllable. I don't buy into such projections of the petroleum industry. Let's take a look at the "New Cold War" *
for oil resources under the Arctic. Russia already placed its flag on the ground claiming the pole, cynically enough, looking forward to global warming and melting permafrost. US geologists estimate under the Arctic about 25% of world's recoverable oil reserves, about 90 billion barrel, but even that only equals to just three years of worldwide demand. I don't buy into that shale gas hype which seems to be grossly exaggerating. Of course BP need some good headlines, a boost for their shares, after that catastrophe in the Mexican Gulf. But will BP remember in 18 years what they're stating here and now? The EU Parliament Policy Department, Economic and Scientific Policy, down-to-earth comes to much more realistic conclusions in their expertise about Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human heath http://europeecologie.eu/IMG/pdf/shale-gas-pe-464-425-f...l.pdf. "Even an aggressive development of gas shales in Europe could only contribute to the European gas supplies at one-digit percentage share at best. It will not reverse the continuing trend of declining domestic production and rising import dependency." Coming to climate change, "Its influence on the European greenhouse gas emissions will remain small if not negligible, or could even be negative if other more promising projects are skipped due to wrong incentives and signals." The Cornell University in New York has found that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale gas deposits would contribute more to climate change than emissions from conventional natural gas and even coal * http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1215/1....html. Shale gas fracking is anything but the "clean alternative" as promoted by the industry. Why playing with the devil when only deferring worldwide depletion, the inevitable, for a couple of more years. Fracking is turning out to be just another bubble.
Mr Richard Moorman, CEO of Tamboran http://www.tamboran.com/, promised that no dangerous, toxic or even carcinogenic chemicals would be used in ireland * http://www.oceanfm.ie/page/Home/. I'm afraid that would be the first time ever done. Because the compositions of fracking fluids are handled like the recipe of Coca Cola, not even managers or staff on the ground know anything about the chemicals in use. First of all, the precautionary principle applies. It is Mr Moorman who must prove this claim and release a list of all chemicals involved, what quantity, when and why are they in use. Secondly, Tamboran is a new company with seemingly no experience at all as they cannot produce any former projects. Finally, Minister Pat Rabbitte hires a University tied to the oil and gas industry to develop an Environmental Impact Assessment. I wish the Minister to consider that the local representatives in united cross-party agreements, the majority people of the areas involved, want fracking being banned in Ireland. Is Pat Rabbitte the Minister of the oil and gas industry or is he the Minister of the people?
In the nearest coming decades we have to learn to cover our energy demands from renewable resources. The sooner we will have transformed the better for our climate, our resources, our people. Therefore Ireland has good opportunities. Risking serious health problems, wagering our groundwaters, endangering farming - and within our good reputation - is not the price people want to pay for short term profits of the petroleum industry. A government Ignoring the overwhelming evidence and proof for seriously negative short, medium and long term consequences of hydraulic shale gas fracturing, a government ignoring its involved citizens and their local representatives, is fatally counter-productive.
27 January 2012