Fracking Week in Westminster w/e 29th May 2015

Fracking Week In Westminster resumes after a break for the election campaign. This weekly report, usually posted on Fridays, includes transcripts of parliamentary debates, questions and answers about fracking and the onshore oil and gas industry.

This week:

  • Extracts from The Queen’s speech
  • MPs’ responses to the Speech
  • Calls for a fracking debate from Lancaster and Fleetwood’s new MP
  • Responsibility for fracking in Wales

With thanks to http://theyworkforyou.com/

27th May 2015

The Queen’s Speech – extracts

“Measures will be introduced to increase energy security and to control immigration.”

“My government will also bring forward legislation to secure a strong and lasting constitutional settlement, devolving wide-ranging powers to Scotland and Wales.”

Background briefing notes – extracts

The Wales Bill
The devolution of licensing for onshore oil and gas exploration to Wales, enabling the Welsh Government and the National Assembly to decide whether exploration for shale oil and gas takes place in Wales.

The Energy Bill
The Bill would formally establish the OGA as an independent regulator, which would take the form of a government company, charged with the asset stewardship and regulation of domestic oil and gas recovery. The Bill would transfer the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change’s existing regulatory powers to the OGA. The Secretary of State’s regulatory functions in relation to the environment would not be transferred. The Bill would give the OGA additional powers including access to company meetings; data acquisition, retention and transfer; dispute resolution and sanctions. The Bill would increase the scope of fees and charges to target the costs of the OGA more closely to those who directly benefit from its services and functions.
To ensure secure supplies in the medium term, we are investing in new energy infrastructure and we have a capacity auction which will ensure security of electricity supply from 2018/19 onwards. A further measure to be introduced is: Delivering more secure and diverse energy supplies in the UK, through the proposed Energy Bill (see establishment of Oil and Gas Authority). To ensure our energy security, we are also investing in new energy infrastructure such as new nuclear and new renewables, as well as exploring for gas

First day’s debate on the Loyal Address (Queen’s Speech)

John Mann, Lab, Bassetlaw, commenting on what he thought should have been in the Queen’s Speech: “I tell you what we do want though: we want to see power localised. The stupidest thing that the Tory party has not done—it would have been hugely popular among their voters, our voters, the SNP’s voters, everyone’s voters—would have been to say, with planning powers on housing, wind farms and fracking, “We’re going to give the power back to local communities. We’re not going to have the man from the Ministry, the Department for Communities and Local Government, overruling local communities on what they want.”

Written question by Lord Wigley, Plaid Cymru

“To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether onshore fracking for gas in Wales will become the responsibility of the National Assembly for Wales.”

28th May 2015

House of Commons business

Question by Cat Smith, Lab, Lancaster and Fleetwood: “Will the Leader of the House grant time for a debate on the issue of fracking in Lancashire, which is of great concern to many of my constituents?”

Reply by Chris Grayling, Con, Leader of the House: “The issue has been widely debated in the House, and I know that it is of concern to the hon. Lady’s constituents. However, I also believe that it is important to ensure that we have proper, affordable supplies of energy for the future. We must deal with the issue carefully and sensitively. There will be plenty of opportunities for the hon. Lady to raise it during next week’s debate on the Queen’s Speech or by means of an Adjournment debate, and I know that she will be a champion of her constituents in this regard. I must say to her, however, that it is very important to, in particular, the pensioners in her constituency for us to ensure that there is affordable energy for all our futures.”

Second day’s debate on the Loyal Address (Queen’s Speech)

Christopher Pincher, Con, Tamworth: “I hope that the Energy Bill will focus on increasing the exploitation of our shale gas reserves, which can not only provide the Treasury with a welcome income stream and provide many thousands of new jobs, but help our energy security. I trust also that the Bill will look at increasing and enhancing gas storage facilities around our country so that we are not just a few hours away from running out of gas, as we have been in some winters.”

9 replies »

  1. It would be an idea if Cat Smith learnt some science and technology BEFORE debating fracking or gas storage. Earleir she said gas should not be stored in salt caverns at Preesall because of landslide risks! What landslides? And now is concerned about contaminating aquifers. Hasn’t she had that explained to her. People do need to understand what they are talking about

    • Cat Smith is representing the concerns of her constituents. Those concerns are the same concerns as the citizens of New York State which has banned fracking. The precursor to that ban on fracking was a widespread grassroots movement in individual towns and counties of the state.
      Note also that following the withdrawal of quantitative easing or government printing of money the credit markets serving the industry have retreated from shale investments and consequently the shale bubble is deflating in the United States. Shale related bonds are toxic and under water.

    • Mr Roberts, she called for a debate. Your assertion that she doesn’t know the facts simply reinforces the need for debate. Thank you for supporting her.

  2. Especially an MP. Mind you she is new and so will probably learn that Gasland was not a documentary, and that enviro concerns have all been looked at.

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