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Poland and Fracking - Lessons to be Learned - Ban Fracking In EU
crime and justice |
Wednesday June 20, 2012 11:57 by Ban Fracking - No Fracking Ireland
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
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