Opponents of fracking have said they’re disappointed that the Environment Agency has granted three environmental permits to Third Energy to frack in North Yorkshire. Supporters of the scheme at Kirby Misperton have welcomed the news. Here’s our round-up of reaction. Link to permit details
Opposition to Third Energy’s plans
Philip Tate, anti-fracking candidate for Thirsk and Malton in the 2015 general election
Mr Tate told BBC Radio York this morning the decision was entirely predictable and the EA did not have a lot of choice in the matter
“If you want to ride a motorbike backwards through a ring of flames then you can probably get a licence from the Environment Agency to do that. But it doesn’t make that activity safe”.
He said companies couldn’t make money from fracking for shale gas because there was a glut of gas on world markets. He said Third Energy would make money from fracking at Kirby Misperton only by using gas in its electricity generating station nearby at Knapton, which he said was running at about 10% capacity.
He said shale gas extraction would lock the UK into burning hydrocarbons for 40-50 years because that was the time needed for gas-powered generating stations to pay back the investment.
He also predicted that low gas prices would have an impact on production standards:
“Best practice is expensive. And you can’t afford that when the profit margins are wafer-thin or, in some cases, non-existent. Corners will be cut and workers will be working longer shifts, they aren’t going to be paid as much money. It will be quite impossible to adhere to the health and safety standards that were observed in the North Sea.”
Ian Conlan, Frack Free Ryedale
“It is shocking that the Environment Agency has ignored the well-founded concerns of local residents about the poor safety record of Third Energy with regard to a serious toxic sour gas leak in 2014, poor maintenance at their existing pipeline, and their use of American company Halliburton to providing the fracking chemicals and drilling.”
“Halliburton was the 5th least reputable American company according to Forbes magazine after using unstable cement in the well at the centre of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, for which they were fined $1.1 billion.”
“Further, their chemicals spilt into a drinking water source in 2014 used by millions of people in Ohio, USA for 5 days before the public was informed. In the UK, our Environment Agency, already struggling with budget cuts and unprecedented demands on their resources from flooding, have had responsibility for fracking dumped on them with no expert knowledge, lack of robust regulations, and no site visit schedule to ensure compliance.”
“Further, no bond is currently required to cover pollution incidents as called for by a report going before the County’s Health and Well being Scrutiny committee later this month. Without such safeguards in place, we call on the Environment Agency to reconsider this, and we will be seeking legal advice on challenging the decision granting these permits.”
Ryedale District Councillor, Paul Andrews
“No amount of money offered in “community benefits” will compensate residents for the loss of drinking water: we can’t drink money. None of the fracking companies eyeing up Ryedale are offering the full market value of our property to enable us to move, should we wish to escape.”
“And who is going to want to buy our farmers produce when they know the soil and water may be contaminated by toxic chemicals, hydrocarbons, and radioactive substances coming up from deep underground in the shale gas layer?
“This permit is bad news for residents that the EA is meant to protect, so now I urge all residents to write to the elected County Councillors on the Planning Committee to listen to our concerns as our district councillors did last month, as the decision now lies at County Hall whether to grant permission.”
Malton resident, Dr Liz Garthwaite
“We need a moratorium as called for by Ryedale District Council, all 5 Town Councils of Ryedale, and at least 10 parish councils, until this process has been properly researched and a properly independent panel of health experts reviews all the up to date evidence of contamination from other sites where fracking has been done around the world.
“As a medical doctor, I am very concerned about the risks. Just as tobacco companies assured us smoking was safe even when their own research said otherwise, so these fracking companies and the Environment Agency are asking us to believe fracking under these flimsy regulations is safe without evidence that would be accepted by health professionals.”
Supporters of Third Energy’s plans
We reported Third Energy’s welcome for the decision yesterday. Link to Third Energy statement here
Friends of Ryedale Gas Exploration
“These would not have been issued if the experienced, expert EA staff had the slightest doubt about the safety of the process.”
David Pasley, FORGE Facebook page
Great news for all who have worked so hard towards this day. We are finally putting to bed ‘Project Fear’ , a tidal wave of disasters, lies and rumour which has been peddled by FFR and its supporters. Well done to everyone involved.
Other comments on the FORGE Facebook page included:
Leon Jennings: “Well done Third Energy”
Matt Robinson: “Brilliant News”
Stephanie Snade: “Great News”
Dale Green: “Great News”
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