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Poland and Fracking - Lessons to be Learned - Ban Fracking In EU

category international | crime and justice | news report author Wednesday June 20, 2012 11:57author by Ban Fracking - No Fracking Ireland Report this post to the editors

How the Industry Spins this Investor Ponzi Scheme

Last week while covering the football in Poland, Pat Kenny's show on RTE radio 1, decided to interview Irish fracker, Oisin Fanning, chairman of San Leon, a company fracking for shale gas in Poland. People contacted the show and demanded the topic recieve balanced coverage and not just a pro-industry rant - eventually RTE agreed to allow Ewa Sufin of the Polish Green Party on air.

The usual industry spin and lies being repeated on RTE by Oisin Fanning were exposed by what Ewa Sufin had to say about fracking in her native Poland and why an EU wide ban must be put in place on this industry.

Below is a transcript of what Ewa Sufin said - you can listen to Oisin Fanning's interview via the RTE link below - iv starts at 1hr.27m

Safe Fracking - A Fairytale
Safe Fracking - A Fairytale

The reality of fracking in Poland, from Ewa Sufin, works at sustainable research and development, CSR manager (Green Party Poland) aired on Radio 1 Pat Kenny Show - Friday 15th Jun - 2012

Italics text didn't get to be said on air

1. (The first point that I would like to speak about concerns energy independence and patriotism) In Poland there is a massive lobbying, a propaganda campaign of the industry and the government, promoting shale gas, nuclear power and coal as the energy mix that will protect Poland from energy dependence from Russia and Gazprom. Supporting shale gas exploitation is shown as a patriotic duty of everyone. They just forget to say that the only way to really guarantee the energy independence to the country is to significantly improve energy efficiency and to develop renewables, not shale gas, and not nuclear power.

2. (The second point concerns the environment and water) . The information diffused in media is minimizing the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for environment,for human health, and for drinking water supply. Hydraulic fracturing needs up to 20 000cubic meters of water for one well and there are more and more evidences of ground water pollution caused by fracking. Yet water is a real problem in Poland, because Poland has the same quantity of water than Egypt and, as Polish Green party repeats: we can't drink gas. The information about the studies and reports which prove that a threat for drinking water and environment exists, is not diffused in official media, who are on the contrary doing everything to convince the population that there are no environmental risks due to hydraulic fracturing.

The precautionary principle from European Treaty is never evoked.

3. (The third point concerns a democracy of the whole process) There was no honest public debate on shale gas exploitation and no transparent democratic institutional process of the decision. Nobody knows in Poland about the excellent French example of a transparent and honest democratic procedure, which had as effect the ban of hydraulic fracturing on the territory of France, except for research. Polish media say that it's nuclear lobby's job, and by the way they almost don't speak about the bans of fracking by other countries or states like New York state, Quebec, Bulgaria, South Africa, and even our neighbor Czech Republic.Besides that, more than 100 licenses that have been handed out to industry during the last few years, were handed out without any transparency, and few months ago seven persons were arrested in charge of corruption, but no license was canceled after that. We, Greens, requested the Supreme Audit Chamber to investigate the process of concessions giving for searching for shale gas in Poland as in our opinion environmental and health procedure were not followed.The head of the Chamber declared that they would carry out such a control in this year.

4. (The fourth point concerns citizens' rights) The new geological law voted last year in Poland gives all the rights to the mining companies, and it doesn't protect the landers, who can't refuse the drilling, because they are threatened with eviction. Even local governments have no right to oppose. People are getting by mail contracts ready to sign, without any explanation about the consequences and about their rights, because they have no rights anymore.

The mining companies are coming with gifts for people, organize dances, try to show that they are friendly and will do no harm. They don’t say to local communities that fracking threatens their agriculture, tourism and sustainable industries. But when people want a real information and ask very concrete questions about hazardous products the companies will be using, and what they will do with the toxic waste, the representatives of the companies don’t answer and very often they just leave the meeting.

5. (The fifth and the last point concerns institutional problems) We are afraid that there will be no efficient control of what companies will do, because the Ministry of the Environment instead of protecting the environment and health safety, has been transformed into an economic department focused on the promotion of shale gas and nuclear power plants’ construction. There was an incident reported and filmed, when unknown mining company has poured into the old gravel pit a big quantity of toxic fracturing waste, causing leaks into the soil and emissions to air. It was in the region where the Ministry of Environment and Polish Geological Institute had realized a model environmental study around just one well to prove that hydraulic fracturing is safe and causes no water, soil or air pollution. The report of this study admitted that the waste of the fracturing was very toxic, but it said that it will be correctly treated. However the treatment is very expensive. So three days after the publishing of the results of this model study, the fracturing waste of unknown origin was poured in to an old gravel pit in the same region. We can be sure that this kind of proceeding will be very common when there will be thousands of wills across the country and hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of very toxic waste to treat.

To finish, I would like to say to Irish listeners that in Poland there are many, many people that are deeply scared about the future of their countryside, their clean air, land and water, the health of their children and generations to come, and all that because of a short term logic and dirty, destructive, reinforcing climate changes energy.

The Polish and Irish people must inform themselves through public community meetings, online independent academic research and the mistakes made in the U.S, where there are stories every week in the media of pollution and sickness in communities where fracking is going on. They must organize themselves and protest. May be we should register an European Citizens Initiative and try to get one million signatures in all the European countries to ban hydraulic fracturing in European Union.

by Ewa Sufin

Related Link: http://www.rte.ie/radio/radioplayer/rteradiowebpage.html#
author by Ban Fracking - No Fracking Irelandpublication date Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:10Report this post to the editors

"Europe’s most ambitious shale gas plans were in disarray yesterday after ExxonMobil announced it would pull out of exploration projects in Poland. Poland’s lucrative reserves had spurred hopes of transforming Europe the way a shale boom has left the United States brimming with supplies.

That was until a government report revealed the country’s likely reserves were about a 10th the size of previous estimates. A spokesman for Exxon in Poland said the company had not decided yet what it would do with its exploration licences.

Poland has granted 112 shale exploration licences even as some countries, including France and Bulgaria, have banned shale exploration pending further environmental studies. – (Reuters)"

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/finance/2012/0619/1...ebook

"(Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) has decided not to go ahead with its shale gas exploration projects in Poland because its test wells failed to produce commercial quantities of gas, daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported in its weekend edition.

The paper quoted a spokesman for the U.S. company's Polish arm as saying that Exxon made the decision after testing two of its wells in Poland, which is being closely watched as a potential of natural gas from shale.

The spokesman was not immediately available to comment further.

Exxon, which holds six exploration licenses in Poland, said in January it would evaluate its options after the unsuccessful tests.

A government report in March slashed estimates of Poland's shale gas reserves to 346 billion to 768 billion cubic meters, or about one-tenth of previous estimates, denting hopes for an energy source that could play a key role in weaning Europe off Russian gas.

Other foreign players seeking shale gas in Poland, the European Union's largest Eastern member, include Chevron (CVX.N) and Marathon (MRO.N).

(Reporting by Chris Borowski; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/17/us-exxon-pola...20617

author by Ban Fracking - No Fracking Irelandpublication date Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:15Report this post to the editors

A ban on fracking

Sir, – The effectiveness of Pat Rabbitte’s announcement of regulations that include a €3 million fine for the gas drilling industry (Home News, June 9th) should be seen in the light of: 1. New York’s waterboard report which states that in event of fracking polluting its water supply, rectifying it would cost an estimated $6 billion; 2. A €3 million fine amounts to .0075 per cent of the estimated value of gas our government gave to the drilling companies.

Extensive monitoring and enforcement is promised. Elsewhere this industry, in the courtroom, has used the fact that pollution occurs anywhere up to a mile below the surface and has dismissed gas discharges at ground level as “natural”.

Therefore regulations will have to be cleverly written and data collected before drilling commences. No solution to ground water pollution and gas and ground water mixing has been found. So a complete ban on fracking is the only intelligent approach.

Mr Rabbitte promises “monitoring and enforcement” of safety standards, but his department has not enough trained personnel to inspect Dublin housing funded under the rent supplement scheme. How does he intend to inspect what is happening a quarter of a mile underground – including how the concrete tube, formed in place under typical Irish conditions of running water, is doing its job. This fragile tube is the only barrier preventing ground water pollution.

Abandoned and commercially unprofitable wells remain a possible source of pollution. Wells drilled in Leitrim 40 to 50 years ago show evidence of gas leakage. I wonder how often these have been inspected or who could be held responsible should they prove a problem in the future?

According to the latest commissioned Government report “fracking presents a manageable risk”. This would require trained personnel and a massive upfront fund to administer favourably, not just strongly worded regulations. – Yours, etc,

DONNACA KENNEDY,

Corryolus,

Carrick on Shannon,

Co Leitrim.

author by Ban Fracking - No Fracking Irelandpublication date Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:25Report this post to the editors

"Recently, politicians and publications have conditionally endorsed so-called "safe fracking" as a part of the nation's energy mix. But safe fracking is an impossibility, and the industry's claims for it are knowingly based on false premises.

Chief among them is the notion that a "leakproof well" is possible. We've heard time again that strict regulation is the key to moving forward on fracking, and that new regulations should make sure that industry constructs leakproof wells that do not pollute the water table. There is no such thing as a leakproof gas well. The gas industry knows this; in fact, it has known it for decades.

The part of the gas well that they're relying on to protect groundwater is simply cement: about a 1-inch-thick layer between the steel casing and the surrounding rock. Cement is permeable before it sets, subject to cracking afterward and can never be made leakproof. A 1-inch layer could never be adequate when groundwater is at risk.

The gas industry's own documents and case studies show that about 6 percent of cement jobs fail immediately upon installation, and recent experience in the Pennsylvania Marcellus shale has borne this out over and over again.

Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection has tracked gas leaking from wells across the state. They found 6.2 percent of new gas wells were leaking in 2010, 6.2 percent in 2011 and 7.2 percent so far in 2012.

When the cement fails, it opens a pathway for gas and other toxins involved in the drilling and fracking process to migrate into groundwater and to the surface.

Cementing failure was what caused the blowout of the Macondo Well in the Gulf of Mexico, the ongoing enormous gas leak in the North Sea and contamination of groundwater onshore from Pennsylvania to Wyoming. Over the nearly four years the "Gasland'' film team spent researching the issue on the ground, there was nowhere in the hundreds of cities and towns in 20 states we visited that didn't have a significant groundwater contamination problem resulting from drilling and fracking.

The gas industry has been studying the ongoing problem for decades, and knows it full well. In a report entitled "Well Integrity Failure Presentation," drilling service company Archer reports that nearly 20 percent of all oil and gas wells are leaking worldwide. A 2003 joint industry publication from Schlumberger, the world's No. 1 fracking company, and oil and gas giant ConocoPhillips, cites astronomical failure rates of 60 percent over a 30-year span. Industry reports on the problem point to its persistence and the impossibility of completely preventing it.

This is technically impossible. In most cases the industry only acts to try to repair leaky wells after groundwater has been contaminated. Its track record for fixing leaks is plagued by bad planning, technical problems and mishaps. To imagine gas companies voluntarily committing to an eternity of costly maintenance on wells failing at ever-increasing rates is beyond credulity.

Nor have regulators addressed the problem with any realism. The argument that regulation can lead to "safe fracking" is senseless. To frack a well, you have to cement it, and cement inevitably fails. "Safe fracking" is a contradiction in terms.

Leaking oil and gas wells are more than statistics. Failure rates mean thousands across the nation have enough contaminants in their water and land to render them unfit for residential or agricultural use. They're left with homes they are forced to abandon, and compromised health.

Yet we've almost totally failed to assess health impacts of fracking. The one study we know of is a preliminary one done in Colorado by the Colorado School of Public Health. It found a likelihood of moderate to severe health affects from drilling and fracking. Members of the New York state Legislature have joined with environmental groups to demand a full public health impact assessment before fracking is authorized here.

A health assessment is minimum due diligence when our water supply and public health hang in the balance. It's not only the gas wells that have integrity problems; it is the oil and gas industry itself. We can believe in their self-interested assertions of leakproof wells about as much as we can expect pigs to fly. On both fronts, the only course is to rely on objective evidence."

Fox is the director of the film "Gasland." Arrindell is the director of Damascus Citizens for Sustainability.

Related Link: http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Fracking-is-h...8.php
author by Ban Fracking - No Fracking Irelandpublication date Wed Jun 20, 2012 17:59Report this post to the editors

"Anyway, the guy you really gotta come to terms with is Josh Fox. Because this little film about the troubles with fracking in New York is pretty damn good. Among other things, he’s got some damning info from the industry on well failures that you might want to have a look at. Whatever you think of the film, one thing is for sure: It’s gonna be seen by a lot of people – a lot of voters, governor. So as you ponder how and when to lift the ban on fracking in New York, give it a look. Journalists like myself will be interested to hear your response to the question Josh addresses to you at the end of the film: "Governor Cuomo, what color will the sky be over New York?"

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-aff...Bv0UA

Related Link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-aff...20620
author by John Burke - nonepublication date Wed Jun 20, 2012 21:28Report this post to the editors

Fracking is clearly mans way of expressing his true insanity. People who let this industry into this country need to be struck down by the hands of those who may be affected which in this case is 12 counties plus half of Northern Ireland. For Enda Kenny and Fine gael to remain silent on this issue when there are countless countries been destroyed by this very industry is an act of "Treason". I do not use this word in jest as no other expression can be called upon I will also include in the "Treason" catergory the Labour party. The saying comes to mind as I type you all might remember it from school times, , "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
I suppose we have to ask ourselves do we know now at this present moment that they do know in fact what they are doing, they can blame Banks, Bondholders, EU pressure at the end of the day it wont wash I for one have had it with this government and all that have passed. If they are going to try and commit eco cide with a huge section of the rural population and our mother river so help them God as they will need it. This time we have the facts and the notice, ignore us at your peril Enda and co.

author by water drinkerpublication date Wed Jun 20, 2012 23:35Report this post to the editors

Fracking is a complete scam and the epitome of cynical amoral capitalism at it's worst.

The business model consists of getting a licence, raising the value of the company then selling it on.
It's called "pump and dump"
The wells quickly peter out and more have to be drilled, as the gas leaks out in all directions.
In the states, the proliferation of wells and selling on of companies is proof of this pattern.

The pollution is externalised and left to the taxpayer to deal with as the companies take the money and run. It's naive in the extreme to believe these wells will be properly monitored. They will destroy our water resources. This, at a time when water is becoming a more valuable resource and water taxes are coming in.

author by Kate - Ban Frackingpublication date Thu Jun 21, 2012 14:56Report this post to the editors

http://www.propublica.org/article/injection-wells-the-p...th-us

Great article on how America is poisoning it's land and people.

author by Gerry Seger - Just Mepublication date Sat Feb 09, 2013 00:22author email gfrms at charter dot netReport this post to the editors

I have been poisoned with Methane Gas Toxicity and have been working to Ban Fracking around the world. I tried for MONTHS to contact US and State Government Officials by sending them my story and Medical Toxicology results and they all replied that there is NO harm in Fracking. Cornell Veterinarian College traveled to six US States and tested dead and dying animals. These animals died within FOUR hours of drinking water at the toxic fracking wells. Other animals and fish are sick, non-productive, or dying as the water drains into rivers and streams. Gag Oders have been put on Doctors in PA so they can not tell what is wrong with their patients. My Doctor who diagnosed me, has been sued several times, they tried to close his office and take away his license for telling of the toxic chemicals in his patients and what they relate to. My lungs, blood, hair analysis all showed the toxic petro chemicals and solvents in me are identified in Methane Gas. If you would like to read my story and read what symptoms I have, contact me at:

gfrms@charter.net

You may use any part of my story to STOP Fracking in the World.

Gerry Seger, Michigan

author by Gerry Segerpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2013 18:15author email gfrms at charter dot netReport this post to the editors

I talked to a lady yesterday who lives a few miles from me and all the promises that the Gas Companies make about disposing of the Toxic Waste Water from Fracking is a LIE. She told me that trucks go by her house daily and they are dumping this toxic waste water in the swamp area near her home, killing the eco system and destroying her water source, which of course will spread out futher and further with the toxins in the water table. Gerry Seger, Michigan

author by Gerry Segerpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2013 18:26author email gfrms at charter dot netReport this post to the editors

Please read this article about Michigan, USA and the Fracking Disaster we are experiencing. Gerry Seger, Michigan

http://ecowatch.org/2013/mi-frack-job-national-record/#...59466

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