Opposition

80,000 copies of crowdfunded fracking leaflet distributed in a month – more planned

A crowdfunded leaflet about fracking is to be reprinted after distributing 80,000 copies in a month.

Realities-of-Fracking-p1The leaflet What does fracking mean? was produced by JoJo Mehta, a campaigner from Gloucestershire who in February put UK MPs on legal notice for any harm from fracking.

She said the leaflet was designed to “directly inform the public of what fracking looks like in production and what has resulted elsewhere from the practice”. She is now planning another run of 80.000 copies. View the leaflet here

Lack of information on fracking

Miss Mehta said: “I put all UK Members of Parliament on legal notice earlier this year that they were in dereliction of their duty to the nation if they voted to fast-track fracking in the knowledge that it would cause harm.

“I provided them with that knowledge in the form of a comprehensive summary document on the risks and harms of fracking.”

“I then realised MPs were not the only ones with a dearth of knowledge on the subject. Most members of the British public, especially those disinclined to dig around online, were stuck with the information found in conventional news channels and these were failing to show what happens when fracking is put into practice.”

“Discussion always seems to be around the idea of an exploratory well here and there, nothing to interrupt anyone’s business as usual. The sheer scale of industrialisation and harm to environment and communities that a frack field in production implies has never been shown”.

Miss Mehta said a simple, straightforward printed document was needed with clear images and graphics that was easy to understand for someone with little or no knowledge of fracking.

She designed a four-page A4 leaflet, with quotes from the major UK political parties and letter to the British Medical Journal from academic leaders.

“Resounding success”

“The power of these leaflets is that they are going directly into the hands and through the letterboxes of the general public”, she said. “They bypass the usual information “feed” of TV, broadsheets and tabloids and thus the contents are not diluted or misrepresented.”

“Some have been handed out from stalls at markets and on high streets; many whole villages have been leafletted door to door; some have been given out at campaigning or community meetings as well as at the door of meetings hosted by fracking industry representatives. But they have also ended up in dentists’ and doctors’ waiting rooms, cafe tables and inside the menu cards in busy pub restaurants, anywhere that ordinary folk will encounter them.”

“It’s been a resounding success. The feedback has been extremely positive from those giving them out on high streets or delivering door-to-door”.

“We also know that big companies, Cuadrilla and Ineos, have seen them and they are causing ripples in Lancashire.”

£3,000 raised in two weeks

Ms Mehta said she raised £3,000 on crowdfunder.co.uk in two weeks and printed the first run of leaflets at the end of April. “By the end of May, the entire run of 80,000 had been sent around the UK for distribution by volunteers and campaigners, particularly in Lancashire and Yorkshire”.

“We’ve already run out”, she said. “There is a clear demand for the leaflets. We have at least half a dozen pending requests for more”.

Ms Mehta said the reprint of another 80,000 leaflets plus delivery would cost about £3,500.

Rather than crowdfunding, which takes a percentage of the money raised, Ms Mehta said the new run would be funded by what she described as “heartfunding”. Ms Mehta said this was a “heartfelt contribution from concerned citizens to enable this project of directly informing the UK public to continue”.

Link to funding web page

  • Jojo Mehta is a mother-of-two living in Nympsfield, near Stroud, Gloucestershire. She describes herself as an “earth activist and concerned human being” and (with Katy Dunne) is co-organiser of Frack Free Five Valleys and co-founder of Toxin Free Network which promotes the Toxin Free Community strategy). She writes, speaks and advocates on behalf of communities and the earth.

16 replies »

  1. I have seen this leaflet and it is one I would like to make an ASA complaint about. As it is free, it is not now subject to ASA rules. A pity as it is one of the most disreputable pile of nonsense I have seen in some time.

    You show open flares (not permitted)
    The Jonah gas field (do you not realise this is NOT what is planned for the UK. These wells are drilled vertically. Do you not know that many wells will be drilled from a single wellpad?
    Are you not aware that in the UK only ‘non hazardous’ chemicals are permitted, and total gas security?

    I could go on (and on and on!) There isnt asingle fact in the whole paper, and you say you are trying to educate??

    Totally immoral. At least I understand this will go ahead, properly regulated, and safely administered by DECC, EA, HSE, and COSHH. Are you not aware that anything that takes place has to be proved to be safe.

    Oh and if its so dodgy, where are the lawsuits from the US? Surely after so much drilling, the courts must be clogged up with claims against the so called health effects? Well, they are not.

    Shame on you.

  2. In 2014 a Durham academic with good credentials and a previous career at BP, Prof Aplin referring to shale gas warned that extracting this gas would require a massive increase in the number of wells, with perhaps 5000 drilling pads needed to develop the resource over the full footprint of the Bowland Shale in northern England.
    He also emphasised that there is still a significant lack of data about UK shale formations and that the reservoirs are larger and much more complex than many conventional fields in the North Sea.

      • This is a quote from a Reuters report:

        “The Upper Bowland area, a part of the basin that has already attracted exploration, could have 260 tcf of gas present, said Andy Aplin, professor of unconventional petroleum at Durham University and former adviser to BP.

        “We would need 33,000 wells to drain all that,” he told the two-day Shale UK conference in London. That compares with an annual average of 19 onshore wells drilled in Britain over the period 1902-2013.”

        It is worthwhile considering the consequent amount of water and waste required and resulting from such a large number of wells. Add also the incidents of contamination that would occur and the concerns expressed and confirmed by a ban on fracking in New York state are understandable.

  3. Thank you Wells Water Waste for providing these quotes.
    Ken W. You say “Shame on you” – I am aghast and bemused. You also talk about scaremongering. Maybe scares need mongering Mr. W. Are you really going to hold your head up high whilst denouncing this very well informed and researched leaflet. Are you truly suggesting the author should feel shame? Fracking has, beyond doubt, ruined communities, health and environment in the US. Are you really in favour of it here on our soil? You say “there isn’t a single fact in the whole paper” yet every single quote and fact is referenced and (I have found) correct. You talk about only non-hazardous chemicals being used in the UK fracking water. I would pay to watch you drink a pint of it. “Only total gas security” is allowed in the UK. Well, we should relax then! I hate to be the one to inform you that just occasionally these ideal plans don’t quite hit the mark when confronted with reality – Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, Baia Mare, Bhopal, Thalidomide. You use the term “totally immoral” about this leaflet, yet you are advocating a proven dirty, dangerous and toxic industry that is, after all a FOSSIL fuel industry continuing to belch carbon and other dioxides whilst lining the pockets of the oil industry. You wonder why the courts aren’t clogged in the US with cases…well they aren’t clogged..just a steady stream. Easy to find if you had any integrity with your due diligence. Here’s one example (http://rt.com/usa/154408-fracking-trial-family-sued/)..oh and another..(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-06-06/drillers-silence-fracking-claims-with-sealed-settlements) ….and here’s a study of shale gas litigation (http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/files/20140101-analysis-of-litigation-involving-shale-hydraulic-fracturing-104256.pdf). Took me 2 minutes. Ken W. are you working for Halliburton? Have you bought shares in Inios and Quadrilla? If not, then perhaps I have you all wrong. It’s YOU that is a concerned citizen – just out for the good of our country, our people and our land? We should Kowtow to your wisdom – bring on the HGVs down our quiet lanes. Let’s get those happy chemicals pumped down them holes. Let’s pressure that cocktail and fracture out that delicious harmless coal gas from under our fields and homes. Not on my life Mr W. Not on my children’s lives. Not even on yours.

  4. Thankyou for your interesting analysis Hugh Jarse. Its welcome to see you speaking out of it.

    WellsWaterWaste there may be 33000 wells to obtain all of the possible reserves, BUT that doesnt mean that many will be drilled. That would take hundreds of rigs to drill for decades. (approx 2 to 3 months for 1 well). This has been looked at in detail by AMEC. Local planning and acceptability will limit this. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/273997/DECC_SEA_Environmental_Report.pdf

    • If there is a point to be drawn from the Amec study it would be helpful to highlight it rather than simply linking to a document of 174 pages. Durham academic Andrew Aplin explains 33,000 wells on 5,000 well pads to exploit the gas in the Bowland shale. There is no reference still to an actual regulation prohibiting open pits, ponds, reservoirs and lagoons. The recent EPA draft study on hydraulic fracturing and its impact on drinking water supplies confirms that there are multiple pathways and incidents of contamination associated with hydraulic fracturing activity. The study confirms also that data is difficult to obtain and assess due in large part to the uncooperative stance of the industry.

  5. Your comments about litigation mean you have not looked at the reasons for this, so I will put this back to you Hugh Jarse.

    They are ALL water well issues, methane, spillages, surface pollution etc, and are well documented. That’s is why the Royal academy of Engineering, Public Health England, the Scottish Govt, the EU etc etc etc all recommend a well regulated industry that has requirements in place for sealed tanks, no gas venting, no open pits, cementation back to the surface, double strings of casing etc etc.
    Notwithstanding that, how many have been due to chemical poisoning fro the fracking process itself? The answer is ZERO. This was confirmed recently in the EPA groundwater pollution study that anti groups misunderstood.

    • Okay Ken. Let’s just say you are correct. I am really not sure about your assertion but let’s go with it. You say there has been zero litigation directly to do with chemical poisoning from the fracking process itself. Let’s assume this is true. Firstly the chemicals used are very poisonous and leave the water poisoned. Here is a list of the worst – Methanol, benzene, toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, kerosene, lead, hydrogen fluoride, naphthaline, sulphuric acid, crystaline silica, formaldehyde, plus many names that are not released as they are propriety and therefore secret (beggars belief). This chemical cocktail is being squirted under high pressure into the ground. The fact that there has been zero litigation regarding this doesn’t suddenly reassure me. Look at that list – and I haven’t outlined WHY each one is dangerous and the list is not even complete. These chemicals are now in the earth, under us. “Zero litigation so far to do with chemical poisoning from the fracking process itself” whoopee doo. This, if it is true, is like a slightly less gone off oyster on my plate. The paradigm that you would have to be coming from for this to be a confidence booster is spurious in the extreme. That list of chemicals remains…and it remains in the ground….and you are asserting that there has been zero litigation directly to do with this – nobody has been to court so far to claim that they have been poisoned by this chemical cocktail. Right, I am continuing to assume that this is true. To me this feels like a deep hole on a school sports field that is filled with large sharp spikes, and you, the responsible Mr Wilkinson is watching (from a distance) while gently yet authoritatively letting the parents know that none of their kids have been impaled down the hole so far. Actually it’s one step further. You are reassuring the parents that nobody has, according to your best information, reported that they or somebody else has fallen down the hole onto the spikes. Please do challenge me by the way if you think that this list of chemicals is inaccurate (US based fracking).
      Now, as another aspect of your attempted reassurance in your reply to me, you assert that the various litigation is “ALL water well issues, methane, spillages, surface pollution etc, and are well documented” – this is an absolute admission that there has been litigation to do with fracking – not directly to do with the chemical cocktail deep in the ground – but nevertheless litigation that would not have been pursued had it not been for fracking. We can in fact say, “caused by fracking” can we not? Again – the fact that these have happened, have gone to court, admissions and settlements made etc etc does not magically pimp your skewed paradigm up into a hugely attractive thing for me, sorry. You also say “That’s is why the Royal academy of Engineering, Public Health England, the Scottish Govt, the EU etc etc etc all recommend a well regulated industry that has requirements in place for sealed tanks, no gas venting, no open pits, cementation back to the surface, double strings of casing etc etc.” – (please consider me wide eyed and incredulous at this point) OF COURSE they all recommend a well regulated industry that has these requirements in place. I AGREE WITH THEM….IN ANY INDUSTRY there should be as many safeguards to health and well being as possible. Let’s make it as safe as possible – errr yes.. This is another point at which I challenge your basic paradigm. Why the FLIP are we even considering a process that, because of ABJECT FAILURES in safety and regulation in the US requires us to put in even more regulation. This is such a ridiculous premise for a defense of the fracking industry it is beyond funny. Your cherry picking of these points to somehow bolster your position is revealing. I’m struggling to find a metaphor – no, the ones I thought of are too offensive. By the way – Here is a link to the fracking fluid chemical list – It also makes interesting reading – I haven’t double checked it’s assertions but please do yourself or anybody reading this.

      http://www.businessinsider.com/scary-chemicals-used-in-hydraulic-fracking-2012-3?op=1&IR=T

      Here’s a choice passage from it:
      In 2005 the Bush administration and Congress used the study to justify legislation of the “Halliburton loophole,” which exempts hydraulic fracturing from Safe Drinking Water Act. Legislation also exempted the practice, used in 90 percent of U.S. natural gas wells, from the Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
      ProPublica investigations, however, found fracking to be the common thread in more than 1,000 cases of water contamination across seven states, including dozens of cases of well failures in which the concrete or steel meant to protect aquifers cracked under high pressure.
      Surface and groundwater supplies are also at risk since an estimated 10 to 90 percent of fracking fluid is returned to the surface during well completion and subsequent production, according to a 2011 public health report on natural gas operations.
      Natural gas is mostly methane, and the potent greenhouse gas— it traps 21 times more heat than CO2— has been leaking from wells at twice the rate of fracking industry claims, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Nature.
      A 2011 congressional report on the chemicals used in hydraulic fracking, states that the 14 leading hydraulic fracturing companies in the U.S. injected 10.2 million gallons of more than 650 products that contained chemicals that are known or possible human carcinogens, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act, or listed as hazardous air pollutants.

  6. You obviously live in the USA. Meanwhile back in the UK and the EU all of these chemicals are NOT PERMITTED and are ALL REQUIRED TO BE DECLARED!!. I am sorry to shout but I mentioned it right at the start.
    If you wish to see the UK and EU legislation (and this is law, BTW, not my interpretation,) look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_United_Kingdom#Chemicals_permitted_for_hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_UK

    In particular, the JAGDAG list is being updated to include chemicals that may be needed in fracking. You really need to look at the UK/European context, as all that you have written above applies to the US, and ONLY the US.

    • Hello again Ken. I do not live in the US. I was answering your comment about there being zero litigation in the US. You began the US thing! Anyway – doesn’t detract from how nasty the industry is. I just do not believe (and I think it would be naive to do so) that these companies within this industry are suddenly going to be angelic in their behavior in the UK because they got caught being far less that that in the US. I really really do not want an on-the-ground example to prove my points so I can say “there, I told you so”.

  7. Also – You say that (in the UK) “all of these chemicals are not permitted” – How does the industry legitimize their historic use in the US and elsewhere if they clearly are not needed OR…if they are needed then how is the process going to work without them?
    Another also – to quote you “all that you have written above applies to the US, and ONLY the US” – Halliburton (who I think you used to work for) are hoping to be major players here in the UK – why will they behave differently here? Surely their corporate psychopathy will not suddenly be cured by our fresh air and countryside?…..ah but wait…no….they’re not really into those kind of things.

  8. So your basic premise is that companies will break the law, using chemicals that have been banned, even tho company directors could then be prosecuted? The evidence would exist for decades in flowback water. Why would they will use chemicals that are not necessary? You obviously are not aware that the physical properties required do not need poisonous chemicals. Food additive materials, (such as guar gum) have replaced these.
    So you are left with nothing to complain about Mr Hobson.

    Sod the public consent. Most of the opposition is based on the lies that have been told. There is no evidence of any enviro issues anywhere in Europe in recent decades of drilling, and when people realise its a benign industry that brings economic activity and jobs, opposition will vanish,

    • There has been only one unconventional well in the UK that has been completed using hydraulic fracturing stimulation, that is not a large evidence base. However that single fracked well had a number of problems and is now being abandoned by the operator. Among the problems is sustained casing pressure (SCP) also referred to as sustained anulus pressure (SAP).
      See the following from a paper by Norske Shell
      “What is Sustained Casing Pressure
      Definition:
      • SCP is excessive casing pressures in wells that persistently rebuilds after bleed-down.
      Sustained Casing Pressure – Problem Definition
      • Problem of leaking wells in the GOM (Gulf of Mexico) is massive, as 11,498 casing strings in 8122 wells exhibit sustained casing pressure.
      • SCP represents a potential risk of losing hydrocarbon reserves and polluting aquifers and sea with hydrocarbons.
      • Also presents significant HSE risks
      • 90% of SCP’s are small and can be contained by casing strength
      • Potentially risky to produce or, more importantly, to abandon such wells without eliminating the pressure.”

      As most people are aware an incident in the Guf of Mexico developed in to an expensive disaster especially for the operator and some of its contractors.
      In Pennsylvania sustained casing pressure is referred to as bubbling in the cellar and is a violation which incurs a fine. It would be interesting to know what the legal position of SCP is onshore in the UK.
      Since SCP is indicative of a leaking well and a defective cement seal around the casing, it should be noted that there are natural, high permeability geological pathways for the migration of buoyant fluids, which are typically associated with structural features such as faults and folds.
      Before bandying insults have a read of this:
      http://www.researchgate.net/publication/270507633_A_New_Proposed_Technique_for_Remediation_of_Leaky_Wells

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