shale gas

Lancashire fracking delayed until 2014

Lancashire fracking delayed until 2014

So, who among the environmentalists out there knew that Fracking is also a big issue in England?  The conservative movement (Tories as they are called in English politics), led by ALEC members in England, is pushing hydraulic fracturing as a cure-all to their energy woes.  The Fossil fuel industry–Big Oil–is quite active trying to avoid the development of renewable, green energy just as they are here in the U.S.

ALEC International

Lancashire fracking delayed until 2014

(Editor’s note:  sorry, but I could not get this out of my head so I’m sharing these lyrics with you:

I heard the news today oh boy
four thousand holes in Blackburn Lancashire
and though the holes were rather small
they had to count them all
now they know how many holes it takes
to fill the Albert Hall
)

Cuadrilla fracking sites in Lancashire

Cuadrilla has sites in St Annes and Banks in Lancashire’s Bowland basin

The shale gas company Cuadrilla has delayed its plans to carry out fracking in Lancashire until 2014.

It is to carry out Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) at its existing and planned new sites where drilling and hydraulic fracturing will take place.

It said explorations have already found the 1200 sq km licence area holds at least 200 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Chief Executive Francis Egan said the assessments could be “lengthy” but should be finished by next year.

He said Cuadrilla’s explorations in Lancashire’s Bowland basin suggested gas with a market value of £136bn was present.

It is now looking for planning consent for drilling, hydraulic fracturing and flow testing to take place.

‘Socially sustainable’

The firm has applied to Lancashire County Council to frack for shale gas at its Anna’s Road site in St Annes and Banks, near Southport.

Fracking is a technique where water and chemicals are pumped into shale rock at high pressure to extract gas.

Opponents are particularly concerned about the contamination of waste or flowback water once it has been used in the fracking process.

Fracking was temporarily banned in the UK after it was blamed for two earth tremors in Blackpool in 2011.

A government review has now concluded that fracking is safe if adequately monitored.

Mr Egan said: “We recognise that within the complex UK regulatory framework governing planning this process can prove lengthy but we are determined to spare no effort in meeting our exploration targets in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.”

He said Cuadrilla is also planning more temporary exploration sites during 2013 and 2014 to assess gas flow rates.

These plans would be discussed with local communities, he said.

Friends of the Earth’s North West campaigner Helen Rimmer said: “Cuadrilla’s decision to delay fracking in Fylde is great news for local people, but other Lancashire communities are still at risk.

“The government must switch from potentially harmful shale gas to a power system based on clean British energy and slashing waste.”

 

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This article is written by BBC News, and can be seen at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-21769805

BBC news

A Trillion Dollar Call for Best Practices in Fracking Operations

alecfossilfuelfunders-editedFifty-five institutional investment organizations representing $1 trillion in assets under management call for adoption of best practices by oil and gas companies engaged in hydraulic fracturing.

SocialFunds.com — Many oil and gas companies are focusing their operations on the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, claiming that the reserves of natural gas available by means of the process contribute a pathway toward national energy independence.

However, concerns have been mounting rapidly over the impacts of fracking. Those concerns include the contamination of groundwater sources by the often toxic chemicals used in the process; ; and the impacts on formerly rural communities of what Mark Regier of Everence Financial described to SocialFunds.com last month as a “gold rush.”

Sustainable investors and other concerned shareowners were quick to begin addressing the environmental and social risks of fracking, and by the time of last year’s proxy season shareowner resolutions addressing the practice were already gaining an average 40% support.

At a press conference held last week, an international coalition of institutional investors with $1 trillion in assets under management called for the adoption of best practices by corporations engaged in hydraulic fracturing. The coalition of 55 investment organizations is led by Boston Common Asset Management, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and the Investor Environmental Health Network (IEHN).

Citing an Investor Guide published late last year by ICCR and IEHN, the investors identified the risks to companies engaged in the practice. The risks include moratoria and outright bans on fracking; the absence of systematic reporting on risk management; and growing investor unrest over the inability to fully evaluate the practices of companies.

Richard Liroff of IEHN told SocialFunds.com at the time of the Investor Guide’s publication, “There’s a moratorium in the Delaware River Basin, there’s been a moratorium in New York State, there’s a moratorium in the Province of Quebec. There is a ban in France, there is a moratorium in South Africa, and there is a moratorium in the New South Wales state in Australia.”

The investor coalition also pointed out that Chevron’s exploration license in Bulgaria was cancelled as well. In January, legislators there overwhelmingly approved a ban on fracking.

“Investors need to have greater certainty in the marketplace as to industry practices and government regulation,” said Steven Heim of Boston Common. “The best course here for investors, the environment and human health will be if all shale gas extractors wake up, get the message, and use these tools to do it right.”

According to the Investor Guide, best practice in fracking includes 12 core goals:
• Manage risks transparently and at board level;
• Reduce surface footprint;
• Assure well integrity;
• Reduce and disclose all toxic chemicals;
• Protect water quality by rigorous monitoring;
• Minimize fresh water use;
• Prevent contamination from waste water;
• Minimize and disclose air emissions;
• Prevent contamination from solid waste and sludge residuals;
• Assure best in class contractor performance;
• Secure community consent; and
• Disclose fines, penalties and litigation.

At the press conference, Liroff said, “We’re encouraging a corporate race to the top in adopting best practices. The best-practices guide backed by major investors offers both currently achievable goals, such as minimizing fresh water use, and more aspirational goals, such as virtually eliminating toxic chemicals from fracturing operations.”

“The guide cites practices that are already used by 17 companies,” Liroff continued. “Many companies will save money and lower risks, providing business, environmental, and community benefits.”

A second report on fracking, published earlier this year by the IRRC Institute and the Sustainable Investments Institute (Si2), stated, “How companies respond to further calls for transparency and adherence to best practices will influence whether the operating environment will improve or whether future rounds of even more stringent regulation or outright bans on drilling will ensue. Given the public scrutiny, a few bad actors may put the entire industry’s license to operate at risk.”

That a significant number of companies are now listening to investor concerns over fracking can be discerned by the fact that of the ten resolutions filed this year addressing the practice, six have been withdrawn in favor of engagement.

At last week’s press conference, Sister Nora Nash of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, said, “Shale gas companies must earn their ‘social license’ by operating in a more responsible manner. Companies must address the community and environmental concerns prompting bans and moratoria. They must listen closely, respond sensitively, and account to both investors and communities for their actions. Otherwise, this is an uncharted process of unwanted development that deprives communities of their rights and leads to litigation and loss of investor confidence.”

Two of the fracking resolutions remaining are filed with Chevron and ExxonMobil, and shareowners will vote on them at the companies’ annual general meetings, both scheduled for May 30th.

“Chevron and ExxonMobil are emerging as laggards by failing to address investor concerns in a meaningful way,” said Larisa Ruoff, Director of Shareholder Advocacy for Green Century Capital Management, a lead filer of the Chevron proposal. “As two of the largest oil and gas companies in the US, these companies should step up and respond to a significant portion of their shareholders by providing increased disclosure on how each company is managing the risks associated with fracking operations.”

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This article was posted by SocialFunds.com at http://www.socialfunds.com/news/article.cgi/article3534.html

Social Funds

ALEC, CSG, ExxonMobil Fracking Fluid “Disclosure” Model Bill Failing By Design


Last year, a hydraulic fracturing (“fracking“) chemical fluid disclosure “model bill” was passed by both the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It proceeded to pass in multiple states across the country soon thereafter, but as Bloomberg recently reported, the bill has been an abject failure with regards to “disclosure.”

That was by design, thanks to the bill’s chief author, ExxonMobil.

Originating as a Texas bill with disclosure standards drawn up under the auspices of the Obama Administration’s Department of Energy Fracking Subcommittee rife with oil and gas industry insiders, the model is now codified as law in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

Bloomberg reported that the public is being kept “clueless” as to what chemicals are injected into the ground during the fracking process by the oil and gas industry.

“Truck-Sized” Loopholes: Fracking Chemical Fluid Non-Disclosure by Design

“Drilling companies in Texas, the biggest oil-and-natural gas producing state,..

To read the remainder of this very informative article by Steve Horn at DeSmog Blog, please click here.

To read the actual ALEC Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid  Composition Act, please click here




Pennsylvania Act 13 Overturned by Supreme Court, Originally an ALEC Model Bill

On July 26, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled PA Act 13 unconstitutional. The bill would have stripped away local zoning laws, eliminated the legal concept of a Home Rule Charter, limited private property rights, and in the process, completely disempowered town, city, municipal and county governments, particularly when it comes to shale gas development.

To read the Court’s Decision, please click here.

Where could the idea for such a bill come from in the first place? Rosenfeld pointed to the oil and gas industry in his piece.

That’s half of the answer. Pennsylvania is the epicenter of the ongoing fracking boom in the United States, and by and large, is a state seemingly bought off by the oil and gas industry.

The other half of the question left unanswered, though, is who do oil and gas industry lobbyists feed anti-democratic, state-level legislation to?

The answer, in a word: ALEC.  PA Act 13, Originally an ALEC Model Bill 

To read this excellent reporting that will answer a lot of questions about fracking laws around the country, please click here