Tuesday 31 January 2012

New REAF Website

Sadly we are leaving Blogger. It served us well but REAF have outgrown its limited features... The Good News is ...

Here is our new site!

Please accept our apologise and thank you for your patience whilst we get the historic data from Blogger transferred over in addition to adding the latest links and articles. We hope to be up to speed real soon!

Sunday 15 January 2012

BGS: Contamination "extremely unlikely"

Next in the series of reports by BBC North West...


The British Geological Survey say that it is 'extremely unlikely' that contamination can occur? As John Bailey of CROP comments - 'extremely unlikely' is just not good enough. Once contaminated, even by accident, polluted aquifers are non recoverable.

Here is the response from Frack Off in a recent email;

The experience of fracking the United States clearly shows that it causes a huge range of local environmental issues, in addition to its severe effects on the climate system (1) The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found benzene contamination in groundwater near fracked wells (2) A Duke University study has also found methane contamination of groundwater (3) Dr Paul Hetzler a ex-employee of the New York Department of Environmental Conservation has been recently quoted as saying 'Hydraulic fracturing will contaminate New York's aquifers. If you were looking for a way to poison the drinking water supply, here in the north-east you couldn't find a more chillingly effective and thorough method of doing so than with hydraulic fracturing.' (4) This not unexpected since a Schlumberger study shows that most wells will eventually start leaking even without fracking (5) Shale Gas brings many more wells and intensive fracking, where a 10-well frac-pad is equivalent to setting off a 4.4 kiloton nuclear bomb underground (6) Is it any wonder that fracking has been linked to a string of magnitude 4 and greater earthquakes in the US over the last year? (7) Due to the very minimal onshore petroleum exploration that has happened in the UK there is almost no regulation at all, unlike some US states with long experience of petroleum exploration where they at least they have some limitations on drilling near houses and water sources etc (8)

1 Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts

2 Investigation of ground water contamination near Pavillion, Wyoming

3 Methane contamination of drinking water accompanying gas-well drilling and hydraulic fracturing


4 Fracking will poison New York's drinking water, critics warn


5 From mud to cement -- building gas wells


6 If fracking has been happening since 1947 what is there to worry about?


7 Ohio Fracking: Earthquakes Could Incite Policy Shift


8 Worst Frackng Regulation in Unities States


From the BBC report "Geologists say its important methane and seismic activity are monitored effectively" - yet the following article suggests that is not what is happening!

There is also confusion about how the Caudrilla operation will be overseen. Donald Dobson, HSE's head of discipline, well engineering, says in a letter to former oil and gas engineer Mike Hill, that it is financially impossible to check each well.

"Verification of an individual well is not the role of the HSE. The resource implications would be immense."

There is also disagreement between officials at the EA over how many times Cuadrilla has been visited randomly. In one letter, Mark Goucher, an EA customer services operator, says that all of its eight sampling visits "have been unannounced". But Stuart Mcdonald of the agency says. "We have made one unannounced out of eight sampling visits." By contrast, Cuadrilla chief executive Mark Miller says: "The EA makes random visits two to three times each month."

Equally, the HSE considers fracking to be low-risk and has only made one site visit. "To date, HSE has conducted one site inspection of Cuadrilla's UK operations. We do not generally make unannounced site visits," says Dobson."


Tuesday 6 December 2011

Rising Tide of protest over Shale Gas

In the early hours of Thursday, 1st of December protestors from Bristol group Rising Tide breached security at the Banks Marsh site and scaled the drilling rig. The operators removed the groups banner from the outside of the drill cassette but protestors held fast later into the evening. There where several arrests.


Interestingly the news team from BBC North West where interviewing REAF members at a nearby location and interupted the filming to get footage of the rig protest. However, neither the rig protest nor REAF where referenced in the resulting report aired on the 2nd December.

In addition REAF have worked closely with Lancs Police on public events and voluntarily attended a de-briefing following the previous rig protest. To date there has been no contact from Lancs Police in relation to this particular incident.

Sunday 4 December 2011

REAF presents at Poulton meeting

A crowd of over 150 turned out for a REAF co-hosted event in Poulton on Monday 28th November. Working with CROP [Concerned Residents of Poulton] to impart information and encourage debate, REAF members answered questions from the public on all matters Fracking.

Also on hand to answer questions where representatives from the Environment Agency and for Cuadrilla, staff from PPS Group.

The evening started off with a slideshow explaining the fracking process as well as a series of photos showing the drilling equipment currently in operation as well as some of the sites under development around the Fylde.

Various discussions followed including the implications for the area should planned licences be granted and the effects of semi-industrialisation on house prices and traffic to name but a few. The slideshow was followed by short film Fracking Hell as well as REAF collaboration shorts with Friends of the Earth and The Co-Operative.

Reporters for the evening where the Blackpool Gazette and Radio Lancashire [links below] and filming was by students from the University of Lancaster.



BBC North West News series mentioned in the radio clip above

Saturday 3 December 2011

REAF at Westminster Debate

REAF members attended a debate hosted by the Co-operative Group at Portcullis House, Westminster on Wednesday 23rd November.


Amongst the panel where Caroline Lucas, Nick Grealy and Paul Monaghan.

It seemed the only people who could comment from a local perspective where REAF members living close to the rig at Banks Marsh and armed with information straight from the operators themselves, REAF where able to debunk some of the touted misconceptions relating to the industry moving forward.

REAF feature on BBC Radio 4 Open Country

On Tuesday 22nd November REAF members took part in an interview for the Radio 4 program 'Open Country' - this was conducted at the RSPB viewing point at the end of the Dib Rd and included comment from a BGS Geologist. Its aired on December the 8th or you can catch it on iPlayer on the link above.

Friday 2 December 2011

REAF feature for Bloomberg News

As part of our 'media day' on the 22/11/11 - REAF played host to a Bloomberg News crew covering Fracking in the UK - REAF arranged interviews with several key members local to the drilling site.

One REAF member owns and runs a caravan & camping site and organic farm and is concerned how semi-industrialisation of the area will affect business.

The question is; if gas production goes ahead as planned with an estimated 400 wells in Lancashire, will that create a loss in confidence in supply from an area that is a large contributor to the UK's salad and crops market?

The Bloomberg team then interviewed several other REAF members before leaving for Singleton to report on how the Fracking related earthquakes had shaken houses and people there.

You can watch the report on the Bloomberg News Channel [Sky UK may host this] or see the abridged version and web report here [sorry about the ads!]