Friends of the Earth condemns leak of draft ruling that fracking leaflet was “misleading”


The front page of today’s Times reports that the Advertising Standards Authority has backed complaints about an anti-fracking leaflet by Friends of the Earth.

The paper said a draft ruling had concluded that the leaflet made misleading statements that it failed to substantiate.

Friends of the Earth said no final ruling had been made and called on the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to investigate how the draft had been published.

The organisation’s energy campaigner, Tony Bosworth, described the leak today as “an outrageous attempt to sidestep the ASA’s decision-making process”.

“We have kept within the ASA’s rules and now the watchdog really should look into how this leak has been allowed to happen.

“The Times did not report on the final decision, but rather on a draft document. As part of the process, we submitted more information to the ASA which they are currently assessing.”

Friends of the Earth said it had supplied more than 100 references that showed fracking was unproven and posed too many risks to people and the environment.

The leak follows last week’s announcement by the ASA that that it was wrong to have censured an advert by Greenpeace which said experts agreed that fracking would not reduce gas prices.

Mr Bosworth said:

“Just last week a previous ASA decision to ban a Greenpeace advert was overturned due to expert opinion on fracking. We hope the ASA considers fully the expert opinions, including many peer reviewed studies, that we have provided before they come to their decision.

“The bottom line is that the evidence against fracking is clear: it poses a risk to people’s health and the environment. It has been stopped around the world from Wales, Scotland, France, Germany and the Netherlands to New York State so we won’t be silenced but nor should we side-step the process.”

The ASA confirmed the complaint was an on-going investigation. A spokesperson would not comment on the case or confirm whether the report in The Times was accurate.

DrillOrDrop understands that draft rulings are sent to the complainant and the advertiser but are regarded as confidential until the ASA council makes its final decision.

A spokesperson said the ASA had no idea who had leaked the Friends of the Earth draft and was unable to say when the final decision would be made.


The cover of the Friends of the Earth leaflet

The leaflet, published last year, sought donations to oppose fracking. It said:

Help protect your community from:
* Chemicals that could cause cancer
* Air pollution and higher asthma risk
* Water contamination
* Plummeting house prices and bigger insurance bills

One of the complaints was from the shale gas company, Cuadrilla. Later this week, the government is expected to announce its decision on whether Cuadrilla should be allowed to frack at two sites in Lancashire.

This morning, the company’s Chief Executive, Francis Egan, said:

“The ASA undertook a thorough review of Friends of the Earth’s outlandish claims about UK fracking in its charity fundraising leaflet and found every one incorrect. Since then FoE has sought to frustrate the ASA process and delay these findings being made public. Friends of the Earth has lost all credibility with scaremongering claims, such as fracking causes that sand used in shale gas wells causes cancer. It spreads untruths and offers no practical solutions to the very real energy problems facing the UK. It should openly admit its mistakes and stop irresponsibly taking the public’s money by scaring them with misleading claims.”

The Times article said the ASA draft “upholds the complaints against FOE on all four grounds. But another complainant, the retired Lancashire vicar, Rev Michael Roberts, reproduced on his website five objections to the leaflet. He said it stated incorrectly that:

  1. Fracking is dangerous or has a serious consequence
  2. Fracking used millions of litres of water, containing a toxic cocktail of chemicals
  3. Up to 80% of fracking fluid never returns to the surface and could end up in drinking water
  4. The planning decision over Cuadrilla’s sites in Lancashire had been resolved with the refusal of the county council
  5. Fracking poses risks to health

Other reaction

John Hobson from Frack Free Lancashire

“These ASA draft results are provisional and are supposed to be, and remain, confidential until both sides have had the opportunity to respond to them.

“It is totally inappropriate that somebody has leaked a draft ruling and The Times should know better than to publish this.

“Friends of the Earth have responded fully with 12 pages of evidence, with over 100 references including many to peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in their leaflet – all of which stand up to scrutiny. This may explain why it was taking the ASA so long to come to a decision but that does not excuse the kangaroo court that seem to have been set up by complainants and The Times.

“The ASA are being treated like patsies by these serial complainants. This case now needs to be closed as there can be no equitable and fair resolution after this tabloid-style trial by media.”

Updated 27/9/2016 with Frack Free Lancashire reaction

110 replies »

  1. It was very unprofessional of the Times environment correspondent to publish a leaked draft in this way. He must know it was confidential and still subject to review. However, we all know that the Times has a partisan position on this subject.

    [edited by moderator]

    It is not the first time that ASA “decisions” on complaints raised by Messrs Roberts and Wilkinson appear to have been leaked to the press. [edited by moderator]

    • LOL. Yes, let’s shift the focus away from the fact that FOE has been called out for its ridiculous fearmongering, and instead talk about the administrative failings of a newspaper! I’m sure no one will catch that deflection, right Johnny?

      Fearmongering, hyperbole, anti-fact propaganda. This board is so thick with this junk from the anti-frack mafia, that they have become fully desensitized to it.

      Now, let’s bring Dr. Szolucha’s report on the “moral outrage” and “fear and intimidation” back into this discussion, shall we? It becomes all too clear who is to blame for all the bad mojo experienced by Lancs residents, huh? LOL

      • Calm down Peeny – you’ll give yourself an aneurism!

        Friends of the Earth were/are in the process of defending themselves, but they have now been tried and found guilty by the gutter press – it seems hard to believe that The Times was once considered the paper of record doesn’t it?

        Administrative failings? LOL

        You just keep on ranting – you really are making our case for us.


    • There is obviously a very good reason why the US has allowed the oil and gas industry to be exempt from

      The Clean Water Act

      The Clean Air Act

      The Groundwater protection Act

      The Safe Drinking Water Act

      The Community right to know Act

      I look forward to the pro fracking supporters explaining why this might be. You will need convincing answers otherwise everything else you ever say about there being no dangers will have to be taken as complete and utter nonsense.

      Come on Ken, Hball, Rev ,Nick, Mark, and Ineos shale. (there may be a few others). Explain.

  2. Isn’t there a limit on how many complaints a particular person or pair of people can bring? These two seem to spend their whole time complaining about things to the ASA, which must be costing them thousands. I hope that Friends of the Earth put in a complaint to the ASA about this. It doesn’t take a genius to guess who leaked this to the paper, does it.
    Also, I don’t think the Times put the fact that the Greenpeace Ad complaint was overturned on its front page, did they? In fact, I don’t think it was in the Times at all. The reporter in question was very unprofessional to put this on the front page when it was still an ongoing investigation, but as we know, Ben Webster is basically a mouthpiece for the industry and makes no attempt to be even-handed in his reporting of fracking.
    The timing of this is also very suspicious, and seems to be paving the way for the announcement on Lancashire later this week. How sad that the Times stoops to these tactics.

    • I wrote the complaint Ellie, and certainly didnt leak it. The reason I have made so many complaints is because there is so much nonsense out there. The ASA are quite happy to take these on. I have just done another on Greenpeace, which has been accepted.
      Did you read the text of the article? Toxic + carcinogenic chemicals? Forbidden under EU and UK law. So who has the moral high ground here? Why are FoE raising money by scaring people? Why have they set up a limited company and openly state its to avoid the attention of the charity commission? Thats why myself and Rev Roberts continue. So far Frack Free Somerset, FrackFreeAlliance, RAFF, and Frack Free Ryedale have failed to justify their fake science to the ASA. They had to promise to withdraw, and not repeat the claims. Its the way the ASA operates.

      [edited by moderator]

      Sadly for FoE withdrawing and hoping it will go away is not an option. They have to try to justify their claims, and after a year they are struggling. Their initial defence was rejected. Not surprising as the ASA asked for clarification from the various regulatory bodies. We will have to see what the final judgement is, and it appears that it will go ahead.

      The problem isnt us, its the industrial level on bollox talked by FoE and other groups. You should thank us, as the only weapon we have is evidence and truth. I am really sorry you have been misled.

    • Apparently not Ellie. For instance, people make all sorts of repeated and vexatious FOI requests of government departments and agencies which must cost taxpayers millions. The people and groups that make these requests do so in the public interest, but it’s often such a narrow interest that the wider public couldn’t care less.

  3. I’d also be wary of treating the ASA – which is headed by pro-fracking Lord Chris Smith, of Shale Gas Task Force fame – as the final arbiter of any discussions on the safety or otherwise of fracking.

    • Again you are wrong Ellie. In matters such as these Chris Smith will not be there or pass comment. Its the normal procedure for conflict issues.

  4. Outrageous. There is plenty of evidence (worldwide) on the dangers of fracking but the press already appears gagged on this subject. Who are/were the science advisors? The ASA ruling , if a legal matter, should be appealed, if necessary to the highest court. The real science should be made transparent – and not by those scientists bought by the oil and gas industry. Good on the FOE for trying to raise money to stand up to the way the fossil-fuel/gas and related mining industries are about to do serious damage in this land.

    • Phillip, you claim, “There is plenty of evidence (worldwide) on the dangers of fracking.” Can you substantiate that claim with real science and empirical data? Note that the US EPA has not been able to, and they have been trying for at least six years. Give us any evidence you have that fracking causes systemic damage to human health. By the way, I can provide you with some good data that demonstrate how fracking has had a systemically positive impact on human health in the US if you like. Thanks!

      • Peeny (as they call you). I’m new to this site but reading through this comment thread what stands out is the [edited by moderator] mock sincerity of Ken Wilkinson and also (possibly) yourself. At first I thought he/you must be completely naive as to the problems and hazards (both short and long term) associated with fracking and the hundreds (if not thousands) of reports that have arisen as a result of those problems – from Australia to Poland and particularly from the USA and Canada. But you don’t have to look abroad to see how things can go wrong – witness the first and only (so far) attempted frack at the Preece Hall site in the UK. I now assume both Ken and yourself know the details (whether you are being paid for your misinformation role I don’t know) – so I shouldn’t need to spell them out e.g. the toxic seepage and well integrity compromises caused by quakes induced by the process itself , etc. Mining and geology (and independent experts) have leaked a documented account of the issues .

        There’s also the fact that the UK has looser regulations regarding this industry than the US, not stronger. This has been lied about. The Royal Society requested some ‘much needed’ industry specific regulations in a report delivered June 2012 – which the government has ignored.

        As for your claim that the EPA has found nothing in 6 years I leave you to try and substantiate that (good luck!) … It took seconds to find the following:
        Then there was this recent settlement … SCRANTON, Pa. — A federal jury on Thursday found Cabot Oil and Gas Corp. responsible for contaminating two Susquehanna County water wells through its natural gas drilling operations and awarded the families a total of $4.24 million.


        • Sorry – this goes with the above….

          The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised the issue in a case study of a cluster of drilling-related water complaints in northeastern Pennsylvania that accompanied its larger draft study of the potential effects of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water released on June 4.

          Methane is the most common drinking water contaminant associated with oil and gas extraction activities in Pennsylvania, followed by iron and manganese, according to state Department of Environmental Protection records for 258 disrupted water supplies where the damage was attributed to drilling.

          Methane in residential water wells is most commonly considered a problem because it can create a risk of explosion or asphyxiation if it escapes from water and collects in confined spaces.

          But, in addition, the conditions fostered by methane in aquifers “can initiate chemical and biological reactions that release or mobilize other contaminants,” including iron, manganese, possibly arsenic and hydrogen sulfide with its distinctive rotten egg smell, the EPA wrote.

        • Sure, Phillip, there have been accidents. You will find the gas industry no different from any other industrialized operation in that regard. But what you WILL NOT FIND is evidence of systemic harm to humans from fracking.

          The EPA has said there are “no widespread, systemic impacts’ to groundwater from fracking,” And even the SAB, which desperately wanted the EPA to change its stance, could not find evidence to compel the EPA to do so.

          But the EPA is not alone. Many other independent bodies have found that fracking is not a systemic threat, and a number have also found that it improves public health vis a vis the GHG emissions which are reduced as gas is substituted for coal. Take a look at the University of Cincinatti study, or the Susquehanna River Basin Commission study, to name a couple.

          Welcome to the site, Phillip. If you keep an open mind you will see that those of us who think that onshore gas should be part of the UK’s energy mix rely on facts and science to make our points. The others, well they just rely on fear and hyperbole! Best of luck!

          • I’m intrigued. Can you please show me the context where the EPA has used the term ‘systemic’ in the sense that you are using it here.

            Please also be aware that the EPA’s role during the short history of Fracking (as it has been latterly practiced – in techniques used since 2007) went through a pronounced shift from monitor and watchdog to hands-off and somewhat toothless ‘authority’. Their reports have since been used to obfuscate the real science and it is real science now that is putting the EPA on the back foot and literally showing them up to have been ‘asleep at the wheel’. Groundwater contamination showing the exact chemical signatures of the fracking fluids has now been revealed as conclusive in several instances.

            You seem unaware of current science so let me help you out. The term ‘systemic’ as used today in many, many disciplines, from engineering to biology, and from climate science and cognitive psychology, is taken to imply the system-as-a-whole, so it includes as many of the environmental interactions and feedback loops as can be accommodated by the modelling. In the science and engineering of hydraulic fracturing it is accepted that the explosive impacts of the process are chaotic, and so the fracture pathways can never be predetermined, just as the variability in the rock composition (over the extended area to be fracked) can never fully be determined by exploratory drilling. You’re then left with the statistics of successes and failures of existing wells in terms of things like fluid and gas migration, well integrity failures, uncontrolled seepage and rogue venting. Failure rates of well integrity alone are no better that 6% (or 100% if you take the UK’s one and only example to date!). That’s around 150 breakdowns causing significant environmental impacts out of every 1000 wells. Cuadrilla are planning for 3500 wells in Lancashire between Preston and Blackpool. The maths are simple statistically speaking.

            • Phillip, What a delicious concoction of myths and irrational fears you have just served! Yum, yum! Appropriate with the FoE blowup, am I right?

              The quote from the EPA Assessment is as follows: “We did not find evidence that these mechanisms have led to widespread, systemic impacts on
              drinking water resources in the United States” You can find more detail in the Exec Summary at:

              I know a great many people in the US who would fault you for mischaracterizing the EPA as “toothless,” in fact, many find the agency highly “toothsome.” Not many people here in the States want to mess with the EPA as they are seen as hyper-vigilant and predisposed to favor intense environmental controls.

              Your failure rate figures are mythical – (more of that, oh no!) and are off by a factor of around 1,000. Here’s a study from TX and OH which found failure rates in those states at between .01 and .03 percent – hardly the 6 percent that you try to frighten with!

              Also, please note that the “short history of fracking” in lateral wells is not nearly as short as you proffer. Lateral fracking has been happening since the 1990’s, not 2007 as you suggest.

              But fracking has been going on in commercial scale back to the 1960’s. I’m not quite sure why going lateral would make it that more dangerous. You will have to explain that to the rest of us!

              You are correct that there have been instances of contamination from gas operations. But these instances were isolated and were the result of accidents – never have they been shown to represent a systemic threat. Every industrial operation has accidents that can threaten the environment – even the creation of, and installation of wind turbines is known for this.

              So, Phillip, I think it is you who need a little schooling in the science and the facts of fracking, not me!

              • OK hball, comprehension101 time. But first I note that you have gone into a slightly hysterical performance mode. If you can suspend your belief that you are on stage performing to an imagined audience against an imagined opponent then we might make some progress. I am neither a member of FoE or Greenpeace and I have no idea what your first sentence is referring to, so I suspect the answer to your query about FoE blowup, whatever that is (?) is no/wrong. And if your next accusations are to be about calling me a communist or Putin ally (these things usually escalate I’ve noticed) then no, I’m not those either.

                I’ll work backwards through the salient points….

                1/ 2007 was the year that cluster drilling and pad sites were introduced in earnest. Any stats or monitoring methods I point to regarding fracking operations (at scale) will be related to this now dominant approach i.e. “as it is latterly practiced”. Do ask questions if you have difficulty understanding that.

                I’ll fill out the picture anyway (for anyone interested). Typically there would be 6-10 wells per pad and around 1 million gallons of water needed per well – either trucked in or drawn from local aquifers, the latter often having a direct impact on water tables. The highly toxic frack fluids are trucked in at around 33% concentration (accidents have already occurred with these trucks in the US) then around 5000 gallons (per well) of the concentrated fluid is mixed with the sand and water for the hydraulic operation. So the frack fluid dilution at that stage is around half of 1%. But doing some simple maths … say, with 8 wells per pad you’re putting 40,000 gallons of frack fluid into the ground via each pad site. Most of it stays there but 30-40% returns as ‘flowback’ – with even more toxic elements in it.

                2/ The failure rate was from a leading expert not the gas industry PR machine, or those state institutions that are politically bound to give themselves a clean bill of health. You need to do more homework hball but first why don’t you quote the failure rate in the UK so far? (i.e. from the Preese Hall fiasco – now capped). Note too that old capped wells go on causing problems through deterioration and integrity failure. The long term legacy issues are now beginning to rear their ugly head in the US. From just three years of high output from such wells can it all be really worth it? No one really discusses the total costs over the long term (factoring in health and sustainability/environmental factors).

                3/ The use of ‘systemic’ in your EPA report was couched in vaguest of terms, as I thought. It wasn’t contextualised or clearly defined at all. And the very next paragraph is very telling with respect to how inconclusive their findings have had to be due to the lack of monitoring information before/during/after fracking. That lack of diligence and intervention is what I’m talking about with respect to lack of teeth. People twist this inconclusive statement into a ‘no evidence’ or ‘no proof’ statement. How convenient. EPA interventions in so many anecdotal accounts I’ve seen have just stopped or been pulled before they could possibly reach any conclusion. One of the most frequent encounters I’ve seen quoted regarding EPA officer visits to homes with water contamination problems was about trying to tell the owner that their water was safe to drink. Then when offered a glass of water they refused to drink it.

                It seemed for a while at least that the EPA had just become an political instrument in the frack rollout which had been elevated to National Energy Security level (synonymous with national security?) and hence any lies could be justified in its favor. Hard to believe that happened on Obama’s watch but maybe he realised later on and started giving some teeth back to the EPA. I’ll keep an open mind on that.

                Finally … what will be interesting in the UK is not so much the ‘systemic’ issues but how the systematic lying plays out – that sees politicians, big business and high level lobbying going hand in glove, riding rough shod over any objections, pay lip service to the expressed views of local communities and even treating them with contempt.

                • [edited by moderator] Not so fast, Phillip. Not so fast my wily little friend!

                  You wrote, “Please also be aware that the EPA’s role during the short history of Fracking (as it has been latterly practiced – in techniques used since 2007)” You did not specify cluster drilling. Indeed, you specifically specified lateral drilling with fracking, a practice that has been actively employed for almost a decade longer than you stated. Caught you!

                  You cited a 6% failure rate. Now you tell us that this has come from an “expert.” I have shown you that your figures are off by several degrees of magnitude and all you can come up with is some lame excuse that the States are making this up? The Ground Water Protection Council (who ran the study) is a not for profit institution whose mission is “…. to promote the protection and conservation of ground water resources for all beneficial uses, recognizing ground water as a critical component of the ecosystem. We provide an important forum for stakeholder communication and research in order to improve governments’ role in the protection and conservation of groundwater.” Yes, Phillip I’m sure you’re right and they’ve lied about the data they’ve gathered in some sort of evil conspiracy that has never been uncovered despite the fact that failure rates are 1,000x higher than represented by the data (data from over 200,000 wells back the study by the way)! Data compiled from the Pennsylvania spud reporting database showed a failure rate of 0.33 percent.

                  You probably get your hyperbole from clowns like Ingraffea or Fox – people who were discredited long, long ago my friend.

                  The EPA report both contextualizes and defines its conclusion in the landmark study. You are dead wrong.

                  But hey, nice try.

                  You are #foolingnoone!

                • Pardon me .. the ‘we’ was just referring to the protection council quote. But nice work on the induced earthquake achievements ‘Groundwater Protection Council’. Guess we’ll be treated to some real fancy footwork from the officials in charge not to mention #psiop hball.

                • Phillip, You seem to have quieted down on your claim of 6 percent failure rate. Are you able to substantiate that figure with data? If so, could you please supply the name of the study, the date and author? I am very interested to see whether you can substantiate your hyperbolic claim!

                  Also, when you get a moment, can you prove that lateral fracking did not take place until 2007 as you claimed? I have found plenty of evidence that it occured much earlier than that, but I am eager to see you substantiate your position with hard fact.

                  Last, since you seem to draw a distinction between single well configurations vs. multi-well, why don’t you explain to all of us why you feel the latter are so much more dangerous? Just curious!


                • Phillip, You have just experienced what we call a “Hobsonian Moment.” This moment is characterized by the proffering of a sensational point that has zero grounding in fact, then being called out for the baseless claim, and then attempting to divert attention to a different subject.

                  Failure rates don’t come close to your 6% figure. Lateral fracks have been going on for much longer than you claim. Unfortunately, these facts do not fit the scare story that you aim to tell, so you go “Hobsonian” on your audience and just blurt them out because scaring people is the path of least resistance.

                  Best of luck!

                • You got me on that one… I concede that I’d miss-recalled the figure as 150 in 1000 rather than 1 in 150 failures (about 0.6% – Dr Ingraffia). Still, that’s significant – say at least 23 failures out of 3500 wells proposed for Lancashire.

                  Back to your trivialization of the earthquake problem. Given that the tremors have been serious … besides overground damage there’ll be inevitable breakdown of well casings and probable major seepage into aquifers – that is certainly not the ‘end of story’!

                • … On the other hand 6% (plus – it gets worse as well wells age beyond 5 years) is the measured proportion of leaky shale-gas wells from a broad 2014 study by the Cornell Engineers. The 0.6% figure referred to the breakdown of the integrity (industry jargon) of the main shaft and its casing only. Leakage is typically via pathways around the outside of the shafts and due to imperfections, cracking and breakdown of cement fillers which are meant to seal the larger hole surrounding the shafts.

                • I just don’t believe you – on Ingraffia being a shoddy scientist – lets agree to differ on that. I can see why he’s a thorn in the side of the shale gas pushers, getting too close to the truth!

                  I’ve revisited the leakage issue and it gets much worse than 6% over time, particularly when the the wells are re pressurised – each well may be refracked 3 or more times. The cement failure leaps up on those occasions. It seems obvious when you think about it…. up to 15000 psi driven by 1000’s of horsepower from the diesel pumps – those rigid cement fillers are bound to crack… the failure rates go north of 25%, 50% in some areas. Now there are the measurements to prove it.

                  I never mentioned ‘lateral drilling’ this is something you’ve imagined – sorry but no ‘gotcha’ to be had there. Of course lateral drilling is part of the modern process but it’s the high density clustering of the wells into pad sites and the associated practices of blocking the sites over a landscape (of roughly 2×1 mile rectangles) etc that have implications way beyond the basic fact of lateral drilling – combined practices which took of in 2007.

          • hball – I believe you may be more informed on US shale operations than others.

            There is obviously a very good reason why the US has allowed the oil and gas industry to be exempt from

            The Clean Water Act

            The Clean Air Act

            The Groundwater protection Act

            The Safe Drinking Water Act

            The Community right to know Act

            Can you explain the need to have implemented these exemptions? I don’t believe they have been implemented for other industries. Is this correct?

            • John, There is obviously a very good reason why you have been misled – it all comes back to scaremongering. Unfortunately you have fallen victim, like so many others, to the stories that the anti-frackers weave in an attempt to raise money and to manipulate innocent people. This is a very appropriate topic as, of course, FoE has just been “outed” as a prime offender.

              No, the US oil and gas industry is not “exempt” from these laws. Just note how absurd it would be if it were. Do you honestly believe that Americans don’t really care about their own safety? Do you think that only people in the UK take self-preservation seriously?

              I refer you to this document from the GAO which clearly states that the industry is held to all federal laws. You should also note that it is held to stringent state laws as well.

              So, before making hyperbolic claims, you need to do more comprehensive due diligence. This goes for all of your anti-fracking brethren as well.

              Best of luck!

              • hball – so the lists of ‘lax rules’ for the Natural Gas industry published by the NY Times 2011 is entirely wrong today then? Would you kindly provide an update showing when subsequent amendments were made, otherwise could you please write to them and point out that they were victims of manipulation and scaremongering … let us know their response – good luck!
                … Likewise for the Frackwire report


                • I’m sorry, John, I missed the part in the article which said that the o&g industry was exempt from federal laws. Can you please find that for me and provide the quote?

                  Cornflakes were delicious, thanks! LOL

                • I’m sorry, Peeny, – some of us need to sleep LOL – Ah but of course, being in a different time zone you forgot eh my little American sock puppet?

                  Now, I missed the part in my own post where I said the article I linked to said that the “o&g industry was exempt from federal laws”. Can you point it out to me please old thing?

                  What the article I linked to does say is that your Article 13 has been deemed unconstitutional – specifically with regard to medical gagging orders and eminent domain. You did read it didn”t you Peeny?

                • You’re not fooling anyone hball. Federal monitoring and evaluation have been easily worked around and regulatory laws effectively rendered unenforceable due to lack of accurately sourced information. Often companies are left to self-regulate or the responsibility is fobbed off to state, or local regulators, which in turn have neither the resources, funds or expertise to carry out the job properly. When subject to a high level QC enquiry in Pennsylvania its inspection policies were found to be outdated by decades (as stated in an Auditor General’s report). Changes in the fracking industry has outpaced the inspection regimes and policy makers by years.

                  That’s on top of the explicit loopholes already referred to. A loophole in that specific AG report was stated as: “The DEP uses a 25 year old policy on the frequency of inspections which has a ‘loophole’ that only requires the DEP to conduct inspections as it has the financial and human resources to do so”. DEP refers to Pa’s Department of Environmental Protection…. When tested for accuracy the reports contained errors of more than 25% in key data fields and as many as 75% of inspectors comments had been omitted from the online submissions.

                • But Phillip, you have strayed completely from your initial point. That point was that the industry was somehow “exempt” from many federal statutes. That was a completely bogus claim, and I told you so. You have been brainwashed by the anti-fracking mafia to believe things that are simply not true.

                  Above you describe issues with state regulatory regimes that are no different from any industry that is experiencing rapid technological change. The bottom line is that regulation always plays catch up when technology evolves quickly, but safety is paramount to everyone involved. So, industry and regulators work to make sure that changes include proper controls. Sometimes mistakes are made, and all parties learn from those mistakes. This is why the industry has suffered fewer accidents over time.

                  The industry is working very well in America and is safely supplying almost 70% of the nation’s immense gas needs. Obviously, an industry that large MUST operate safely or the consequences would be disastrous on a massive scale. Millions of people have not died from fracking. Millions of people have not gotten cancer from fracking. Millions of babies have not been born prematurely due to fracking. Millions of people do not have asthma due to fracking. Millions of workers on gas rigs continue to do their work every day without negative health consequence, and millions drink water from nearby wells without becoming sick. The hospitals are not filled, the insurance companies are not going bankrupt, the lawyers are not getting rich.

                  It’s much more boring than all that. Just fracking – the same underlying practice that has been going on here in the States for around six decades.

                • “The greatest engineering and scientific experts in the UK, including the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society, Independent Panel of Experts for the Scottish Government, Public Health England, Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and the Committee on Climate Change have, independently, considered all the evidence and the scientific consensus is that it is possible to undertake fracking safely in the UK with proper regulation. It is surprising, therefore, how so many people, including respected politicians, are prepared, unashamedly and publicly, to ignore the evidence, to deny the facts and to continue to quote incorrect and misleading claims.”

                • ‘.. “exempt” from many federal statutes. That was a completely bogus claim ‘
                  …. another invention of words I never said.

                  You don’t seem to comprehend some of the points very well do you. Statutes and exemptions are one thing. Inspection, compliance and enforcement quite another. The EPA does not conduct its own inspections it relies the industry itself to submit its own reports (should I repeat that?). Under staffed and underfunded regional authorities don’t have the clout to carry out proper inspections and monitoring, nor enforce compliance.

                  Furthermore the republican dominated congress has been in the process of neutering the EPA, if not trying to eliminate it altogether: With all that the industry hardly needs loopholes does it, even though there are still a few.

                  Good of you to share your concept of population-risk. I see you set your threshold in the millions. Is that how many affected lives it takes before you care, or even notice?

                  I hope those UK expert bodies you mention will offer more than window dressing for the shale-gas roll-out. I trust they are awake to the following :

                  It is a myth that fracked gas is a ‘clean’ ‘transition’ fuel (as the PR/Lobbying drive phrases it). Suspicions were raised a few years ago that, besides all the hazards surrounding the process itself (including water table contamination and highly toxic flowback waste), that uncontrolled leakage and and migration of methane (into the atmosphere) is a major issue.

                  Cornell engineering surveys and measurements have confirmed this – measurements which were not undertaken by the industries themselves that should have been there from the beginning. Not only have these findings been verified by independent studies (all refereed and now published) but more recently also verified by a European satellite capable of plotting atmospheric methane. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. Overall this makes unconventional natural gas extraction (by fracking) the worst of all fossil fuels in terms of carbon footprint.

                  Finally, another myth to be dispelled is the one about ‘business as usual – fracking has been around for 60 years’. The multi stage slickwater fracturing of horizontal wells was introduced in 2002 and the use of multi-well pads and cluster drilling since 2007. The stakes regarding environmental impacts shot up with these developments.

  5. Mr Wilkinson, how interesting that you treat the Greenpeace reversal as ‘minor’, given that claiming that fracking will reduce energy prices is central to many people’s arguments about fracking.

    To be honest, given the complete and utter failure of your eighteen-month persecution of Mike Hill and the fact that not a single one of your 57 complaints against him were upheld, I’m surprised that you can even show your face on the message boards again. Most people would be too embarrassed to be seen in public after such a disastrous attempt to ruin a man’s career and reputation. With credibility of less than zero, why should anyone care what you think now anyway?

    As for your suggestion that one reason for the leak is that ‘the decision has taken so long’ – what a load of rubbish. Just because a decision has taken a long time does not give reason for someone to leak it to a pro-fracking journalist of a Murdoch paper in the week that the Government are going to rule on the Lancashire decisions. This is clearly part of an orchestrated campaign to soften people up for the government overruling the Council’s decisions in Lancashire, and was probably held back for this very purpose.

    • [edited by moderator] You appear to misunderstand how professional complaints work. Professional bodies rarely uphold complaints against members. Thats why we have Ombudsmen/women. The IET didnt ‘clear’ Mike Hill. They declined to censure him I guess. They never contacted me at all. See this rather right wing news source[edited by moderator]. That includes the ‘only 1 of the recommendations out of 10’ claim. [Edited by moderator]. I prefer my facts to be ‘true’ and ‘proveable’. [edited by moderator]
      So you think 9 months is OK? Why not 5 years? 100? There reaches a point that something has to give, and it is FoE that are the source of the delays. You may well be right about the timing. I would not know, as I wasnt responsible for the story. It does rather rip the heart out of the anti movement tho doesn’t it.

      • Ken – the fact that the IET don’t appear to have even bothered to tell you the result [edited by moderator] speaks volumes doesn’t it?

        If they “never contacted you at all” how could you possibly know whether they cleared Mike Hill or not? As usual you speak with absolute confidence about things on which you have no understanding. In fact the IET appear to have looked at your complaints and found that none of the 57 allegations was substantiated and accordingly dismissed them entirely. If that isn’t “clearing” Mike Hill I don’t know what is. [edited by moderator]

        [Edited by moderator] Trying to console yourself by claiming “Professional bodies rarely uphold complaints against members” is a bit pathetic after the huge efforts you made to get Mike Hill censured by his own professional body.

        Now then Ken I really would be careful about repeating any more of your defamatory claims about Mike Hill – he does have legal representation – he had to have to withstand your assault. I would imagine he is not very happy with you and he knows exactly where to send a writ.

        Moderators – you might want to consider whether it is appropriate to let Ken Wilkinson defame Mike Hill in this way here?

        • Just to remind everyone, DrillOrDrop has a policy on comments here

          Comments which refer to “lying” will be moderated. Lying implies that the speaker has made a claim which they know to be false. Generally this will be impossible to prove. Even when someone has made a claim which is demonstrably wrong, it may be that they were mistaken, and genuinely believed what they were saying. So saying someone is wrong is fine, but saying someone is lying is not. There are also potential legal problems, which I’m sure none of us want to get involved with.

          On a wider point, we also seek to moderate personal criticism. Describing a point of view as “pathetic” or “vindictive” doesn’t encourage a free-flowing discussion and may deter some contributors.

          Comments are generally allowed to appear immediately you have posted them (unless it’s your first comment, in which case it has to be approved – this cuts down the likelihood of spam appearing in the discussion). Unfortunately we’re not available to moderate 24 hours a day, so please contact us if you feel a comment should be moderated

      • “the price of gas is small beer”

        No it categorically IS NOT small beer. It is one of the biggest arguments for shale gas, for keeping people out of fuel poverty, for keeping this country in cheap, home produced energy so we are not reliant on cheaper imports from the Russians, the Middle East etc. It is constantly used to promote shale gas exploration in this country to the general public. You cannot hope it disappears with a quick sweep of your hand because it has now been proven that the industry cannot guarantee it will reduce fuel prices. Let’s be honest, with the evidence proving it is not a green stepping stone and now that it will not necessarily reduce fuel prices, there isn’t a whole lot to convince people that fracking is the way ahead for this country is there?!

        • Any increase in supply of a commodity will, ceteris paribus, lower the price of that commodity. This is basic economics my friend. In the UK this will likely be expressed by wider differentials – meaning lower local prices for gas.

          Yet you are incorrect in assuming that low gas prices are a primary argument for shale exploitation. Ken is right and many other experts have noted that the impact on prices will not be very large. The fact is however, that gas is a low cost alternative. Foreign gas is more expensive, renewables are much more expensive, nuclear is more expensive, coal may be cheaper but it’s much worse for the environment. Domestic gas isn’t the only answer, but it is a smart addition to the UK’s energy portfolio.

          • “Foreign gas is more expensive”? Really Peeny? Then explain why the LNG spot price for NW Europe is currently around 35p/therm whilst estimates for UK extraction are about 47-102p/therm. And please don’t give us that “prices will fall rapidly” because you simply can’t support it with any evidence as we have already seen.

            As Francis Egan said on Radio 4 Today ” If we can’t develop gas, literally a hundred metres from a pipeline in the UK cheaper for the end consumer than you can extract it in the US, ship it 3,000 miles across the Atlantic, turn it back from a liquid into a gas, then we shouldn’t be in business. ”

            Bye Bye then!

            • Sure John! I can explain that quite easily. Because you are using stale “forecasts” that were made before costs dropped 50 to 60% and which were inflated for effect.

              Here’s a little logic test for you my good man. Explain to everyone here how you can frack gas in Ohio, pipe it all the way to an LNG facility on the east coast, put the gas through an immensely expensive liquification process, transport it 5600 km on a massive vessel, move it to port, regasify in an extraordinarily expensive process, and put that gas into the UK system, and have the costs involved come to less than those of extracting gas right there in the UK.

              The supply chain involving LNG adds 2-3x to the cost of the gas. You will have a tough time explaining how it is that gas in the UK will be 2-3x more expensive to extract than it will in the US. Of course costs will be high initially in the UK, but they will come down rapidly as they have elsewhere.

              This is why INEOS is dying to get fracking. They can save a bundle and they’ve said so.

              I’m going to trust the operators here rather than you, John. Sorry matey!

              • I wonder if it could have anything to do with the fact that it is estimated that costs in the USA are around 1/3 of what they might be in the UK?

                While Egan tried to claim his business is viable on Radio4 yesterday, Peter Strachan, Professor of Energy Policy at the Robert Gordon University and Alex Russell, Professor and Chair of the Oil Industry Finance Committee tell it like it is

                “The world is awash with cheap oil and gas, and it can be shipped from, say the US, at a fraction of the cost that we can produce it here in the UK.”

                Go figure as you Americans like to say. Matey.

                • The current operators in UK are all (with the exception perhaps of offshore Ineos) hoping to sell out to bigger fish before the bubble bursts – they are effectively wildcatters hoping to cash out on a big find. Didn’t you realise?

                • hball We have proven that the industry itself told the house of lords energy select committee that shale could not be viable at today’s prices. We have given you the proof that EY, Bloomberg, Oxford industry, Centrica say UK shale costs are to high. We have given you official figures on how cheap LNG is compared to UK shale. You obviously need a lifeline on this issue. You have chosen the words from Ineos.

                  So here is your problem for the day

                  When Ineos talk about the economics of UK shale they have referred to the market price………. but

                  They have referenced figures from over 2 years ago

                  We know why they have done that. Do you?

        • ‘Not necessarily reduce fuel prices’….

          Bad arguments are often made by purposefully constructing limited arguments that aim only to look at a piece of the picture with the intention of ignoring the larger whole so as to look more valid.

          OK, you’re argument is made. However, is it really a ‘full system’ argument. Also, you don’t make clear whether your are looking at the retail price, or the wholesale price. Obviously the wholesale price can drop, as it has, without hugely affecting bills since our bills are predominantly not made up by the fuel price, but by things external to this such as transport and infrastructure etc.

          Putting all that aside though it is easy to see that your argument as a whole is being purposefully limited so as to appear stronger.

          Situation 1) No fracking allowed anywhere in the world (the stated goal of anti fracking groups and large environmental NGOs)
          Outcome 1) Return to the world without fracking. OPEC dominate. Fuel prices return to what they were prior to 2010 and before the oil, wet gas, and dry gas market ‘crashes’.
          Risk 1) The more rapid and serious ‘market correction’ due to the sudden reduction in unconventional output on top of the lack of investment resulting from the past few years of low oil prices results in a price spike and serious economic damage to Western economies and corresponding increases in poverty and unemployment.
          Outcome 1) Fuel prices across the board increase including petrol, diesel, and home heating/cooking. Inflationary pressures applied across whole economies due to increased fuel costs. Cost of food, etc, also increases.

          These situations show what anti fracking groups would achieve. It is true that UK wells might not affect price too much. This is in part due to prices already having dropped by more than half following the success of fracking in other countries and that successes relationship with OPEC.

          It may well be the way people think. They have many of the benefits of low fuel prices already – although the anti fracking campaigns obviously have not highlighted this since it would not be to their advantage to state that fracking has already been responsible for one of the largest fuel price drops and reductions in inflation in modern times.

          So, even putting all that aside – that the UK shale industry is unlikely to create a much lower price compared to today since it cannot go much lower and OPEC is now talking about reducing output. Anti fracking groups are not being very honest with the public of what their stated aim would actually achieve. A UK shale gas industry will create a negative pressure on prices. The anti fracking groups will only create a positive pressure for prices to increase. However, the stated aims of the global anti fracking movement and NGOs is to dramatically increase prices as well as risk a serious economic shock.

          Putting all of that aside though, your argument is purposefully limited by only considering the front facing price of people’s bills as the ONLY measure of what people’s ‘prices’ are. Taxes generated by importing Norwegian gas is 0%. Qatar, 0%. Jobs generated upstream ZERO. ZERO people staying in hotels or spending money in shops etc. The total loss, which is what you choose to ignore, is much higher. It isn’t just what people see on their bills. It is the total economic activity in the UK – all the taxes and all the jobs.

          I know you already understand that, because who doesn’t. So am led to believe you are ignoring it because it is a disadvantage to you if you did. That means your argument is not considering the whole and is therefore weakened.

          Fracking will create a downward pressure on prices because more production does that. Anti fracking will create an upward pressure. Cheaper fuel means lower prices for the poor and a reduction in poverty. Anti fracking aims to considerably push up global prices, which will create significant poverty, especially if the outcome resulted in a global price spike. Fracking generates jobs and tax revenue. Anti fracking destroys jobs and tax revenue.

          • Garry – we are discussing UK fracking here. At a global level UK shale gas output will be a drop in the bucket and your lengthy diatribe is pretty irrelevant to the UK situation and what UK consumers will pay I’m afraid. That gets dictated (indirectly perhaps as government intervention in the form of taxes distorts the issue) by a host of other macro economic factors. some of which you did allude to in your post like what OPEC are doing just now, or what is happening in the USA. I’m afraid your comment “Anti fracking destroys jobs and tax revenue” is just what our American sock puppet friend calls “Fearmongering, hyperbole, anti-fact propaganda”

  6. Well said Ellie!

    Actually Ken’s rambling complaint to IET wasn’t 57 points – somebody else helped him make that number up but the result was still the same – total exoneration for Mike Hill and an embarrassing whitewash for the complainants.

    I think it’s true to say that Ken and Michael haven’t yet managed to get a ruling out the ASA in spite of multiple attempts. I doubt that leaking the draft report (whoever did it) will have disposed the ASA board particularly well towards making a ruling in this instance either.

    If it wasn’t just you and Michael who had access to the draft ruling Ken who else was it?

    • Chemicals used in fracking (according to INEOS publications –

      Borate salts.
      ‘Common borate salts include sodium metaborate, NaBO2, and borax. Borax was added to the Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) candidate list on 16 December 2010. The SVHC candidate list is part of the EU Regulations on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals 2006 (REACH), and the addition was based on the revised classification of borax as toxic for reproduction category 1B under the CLP Regulations. Substances and mixtures imported into the EU which contain borax are now required to be labelled with the warnings “May damage fertility” and “May damage the unborn child”‘

      ‘The Indonesian Directorate of Consumer Protection warns of the risk of liver cancer with high consumption over a period of 5–10 years’

      Potassium chloride.
      ‘High doses can cause cardiac arrest and rapid death, thus the aforementioned use as the third and final drug delivered in the lethal injection process’.

      Ethylene glycol.
      ‘Used in anti freeze. Ethylene glycol is moderately toxic, with an oral LDLo = 786 mg/kg for humans.[10] The major danger is due to its sweet taste, which can attract children and animals. Upon ingestion, ethylene glycol is oxidized to glycolic acid, which is, in turn, oxidized to oxalic acid, which is toxic. It and its toxic byproducts first affect the central nervous system, then the heart, and finally the kidneys. Ingestion of sufficient amounts can be fatal if untreated’.

      ‘Polyacrylamide can break down into acrylamide, which is a carcinogen’

      Hydrochloric acid
      ‘Concentrated hydrochloric acid (fuming hydrochloric acid) forms acidic mists. Both the mist and the solution have a corrosive effect on human tissue, with the potential to damage respiratory organs, eyes, skin, and intestines irreversibly. Upon mixing hydrochloric acid with common oxidizing chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite (bleach, NaClO) or potassium permanganate (KMnO4), the toxic gas chlorine is produced’

      Ammonium persulfate
      ‘Airborne dust may be irritating to eye, nose, throat, lung and skin upon contact. Exposure to high levels of dust may cause difficulty in breathing. It has been noted that persulfate salts are a major cause of asthmatic effects in women’

      N,n-dimethyl formamide
      ‘The potential toxicity DMF has received considerable attention. It is not classifiable as human carcinogen, but it is thought to cause birth defects’

      ‘As a strong sterilant, glutaraldehyde is toxic and a strong irritant’

      Sodium carbonate

      According to INEOS ‘The additives in frack fluid are classified by the Environment Agency as nonhazardous in the proportions proposed’.

      It however does not give the amounts, effects if chemicals are combined or residual.

      The brochures present the above chemicals as ‘safe’ as they are used in domestic products. Would you say that was misleading?

      • No, Sherwulfe, you need to be a scientist. The risks relate a lot to concentration. Potassium Chloride? Thats sold as ‘low sodium salt’ for human consumption. Eat a kilo of salt, or drink 10 litres of water and you will die. Its the fantasy science that you have proposed above that is the type of thing I have complained about.

        Could I suggest you leave this to people who actually know what they are talking about? The ‘hazardous designation is in EU and UK law. See

        • So you are agreeing that these chemicals in large concentrations are dangerous? INEOS have only quoted percentages not volume. VERY MISLEADING. A case for you I think…..

          ‘Could I suggest you leave this to people who actually know what they are talking about? ‘ Do you? I think not.

          These publications are for those who are not ‘scientists’. In my opinion they will read and people misled into thinking the chemicals are safe when clearly they are not.

          • They may be harmful when concentrated, like lots of things. There is a recognised path for this explained in the link I posted above. Thats why we are lucky to have the expert scientists at the EA to approve or not. I have merely a degree in Engineering, and teaching Physics to A level, very successfully. That and 12 years as a senior oil engineer.

            • ‘I have merely a degree in Engineering, and teaching Physics to A level, very successfully. That and 12 years as a senior oil engineer’.
              So that makes you not only an expert in chemistry but also empowers you to decide misleading? Be careful Ken, there maybe folk on here who may have more relevant qualifications, myself included……..

            • Then why do you not understand that fracking presents chemical risks via two distinct pathways Ken.

              Firstly there is the risk from accidents when transporting, storing and handling the chemicals at transport concentrations to be injected in the fracking fluid . You can’t tell us what those chemicals will be with any confidence as none of us yet know what the industry might propose if and when it reaches production stage. .

              Secondly there are the risks identified in the EA’s analysis of flowback fluid at Davyhulme where metals, poisons and NORM were found in quantities which far exceeded normal quantities in drinking water and meant that the EA now insist that flowback has to be specially treated. (

              Of course the EA have now decided that flowback can be re-injected for recycling purposes into a well to be fracked, but that suggests that huge volumes would need to be stored on site – let’s just imagine you get the same 70% flowback Cuadrilla had at Preese Hall but you had used the 19,000 m3 per well suggested by GWPF. You’d have to store 13,300 m3 of contaminated water safely on site for the next well. That’s more than 5 olympic swimming pools worth of contaminated fluid. What could go wrong?

              Re-injection also gives the lie to the claim you have made many times that they are not allowed to use hazardous chemicals in fracking fluid. If they are re-injecting fluid with a similar constitution to the Preese Hall flowback it certainly contains some very unpleasant stuff at levels that would stop it being used for domestic purposes, and in the case of NORM, being disposed of without special treatment.

              You do know this as you had to explain it to your pal Backing Fracking a couple of days ago when he got totally muddled between flowback and produced water.

              • John, the risks you cite are handled every single day in multiple industries including the chemicals industry, refineries, oil and gas operations, electronic manufacturing industries. Give it up my man. You have lost!

                • Really Peeny – they have thousands of m3 of flowback in electronic manufacturing? Well you learn something new every day.

                  As I’ve told you before my little American sockpuppet, the game hasn’t even started yet and your team has no supporters.

            • I have a raincoat and a ford focus (very reliable) and I can answer these questions. Can Ken?

              There is obviously a very good reason why the US has allowed the oil and gas industry to be exempt from

              The Clean Water Act

              The Clean Air Act

              The Groundwater protection Act

              The Safe Drinking Water Act

              The Community right to know Act

              Do you know the reasons?

        • Well researched there Ken. As a Chemistry graduate the risk is all in the concentration. The use of chlorine in tap water is a very good example. Anyway I thought most of chemical will either react with the mineral in the rock and trapped in the bed rock. And once they reacted to turn into salt their chemical property become harmless.

          • Thankyou TW. You are right, hydrochloric acid for instance reacts in seconds and the breakdown products are harmless. The assessment of that is enshrined in law. The ASA did sustain the complaint that HCl is ‘toxic’, as it is at 37% concentration should you happen to drink it (!!!). Below that it is ‘corrosive’ or ‘irritant’, and below that it is food additive E507.

            I specifically asked the ASA to contact the regulators so they could get a proper scientific viewpoint, and they did so. Now the FoE lawyers are trying to delay the whole thing becoming public. Seems like that didnt work!

            • Ken – you are getting confused – the ASA did sustain the complaint that HCl is ‘toxic’, as indeed it is at 37% concentration. That was in the only fracking related case they have ever ruled on – the one where Cuadrilla were found to have mislead the public on several counts in their “community newsletter” in 2013.

              Even the great Ken Wilkinson can’t change reality you know. HCl IS toxic. I imagine the fugu toxin, famous in Sushi cuisine could be rendered harmless if it were diluted enough. That is not the point and you know it (or at east you should)

              And you really shouldn’t crow like that about the fact that somebody undercut a regulatory process (in this case the ASA’s). It makes it look as though you approve of that sort of thing.

          • Well TW I’m not a chemistry graduate, but it would seem that your conclusion is at least questionable, not least because so much of the fluid is not trapped in the bed of rock but flows back to the surface.

            “During the fracking process, fresh cracks in the shale expose chemically reactive rock faces to the “fracturing fluids”. This permits rapid chemical exchange between the fracturing fluids, the rock minerals, and any natural formation water present[10]. Once fracking operations have ceased, the well is depressurised, allowing the gas and these fluids to be produced from the well, named “flowback fluids”. Flowback fluids typically contain high levels of dissolved and suspended solids, heavy metals, dissolved hydrocarbons, and naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) leached from the shale and formation waters[11], making them chemically distinct from produced waters.

          • I’d love to return to this comment when the ‘dilute’ use of chlorine is eventually linked to the increase in cancers in the UK.

            It was once okay to use bleach in the home with no protection ‘irritant’ was the label; now ‘harmful to aquatic life and corrosive and to wear gloves. There are many chemicals that have been deemed ‘safe’ over the years in various concentrates which now are no longer used or even banned in any dilution. Putting any known carcinogen in the water is risky.

            Why is there concern and advice to avoid polyacrylamide in cosmetics if they are ”safe’ in small doses?

            If these chemicals are ‘safe’ why all the fuss with permits? Their properties clearly show they are not safe and it’s not enough to have a piece of paper saying just add water!

            Promoting the use of ‘safe’ chemicals in fracking is like presenting statistics; lies and damned lies……

          • The are a few mistakes in your thinking and information here TW/Ken. The chemical cocktail transported to the frack sites (at around 30-33% concentration) is highly toxic – as handling accidents, spills and leaks have already proved in the US. But it is not even diluted at the point of injection. Much of it is injected as ‘slugs’. You can argue that it’s all safely mixed and diluted underground and that would be true over time but there’s no way of directly observing that process in action. A still bigger issue is the flowback fluids which contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium and metalloid arsenic at orders of magnitude above safe permissible levels, not to mention bromide and radioctive sludge (containing uranium and radon). Heavy metal toxicity can cause damage to central nervous cardiovascular systems.

            Results of large scale surveys – which should have been initiated over 10 years ago – are now conclusively proving that risks to drinking water contamination, mostly due to high methane levels, are directly related to fracking operations (and that these risks are much higher than admitted) but also that the handling and disposal of the flowback fluids present serious hazard issues. Settling/evaporation tanks (which have often been open to the air) give off highly toxic vapors and Trucking the stuff away presents other hazards – then you’ve still got to put it somewhere. Re-injection into the ground off this misleadingly titled ‘produced water’ presents new, and potentially greater problems: earthquakes to name just one. Oklahoma has been dubbed the world’s first man-made earthquake capitol. Check out the 2016 US government report associated with this news clip:

      • Sherwulf NYCC have already been informed of the dangerous effects of fracking chemicals to be used in the UK as reported to the US Congress, yet NYCC saw fit to ignore the advice, saying instead that fracking should be allowed. Clearly the council care nothing for the health and welfare of local people, nor the water supply into which this chemical cocktail will migrate over fifty years after fracking has finished….

        Click to access Final-Rebuttal-Exhibits.pdf-Adobe-Acrobat-Pro.pdf

        APRIL 2011

      • Sorry, just wanted to add, that now NYCC have been clearly warned about the dangers of these chemicals they can be taken to court and sued, once they are found in water tables and drinking water in years to come as can the EA and Water Conglom in Yorkshire as they too had access to the document.
        No hindsight learning expected for lessons, lesson already given in full at the beginning of this year to the NYCC where EA and Yorks Water were present.

        • Thanks marg. It’s amazing how ‘deaf’ those who are supposedly in positions of responsibility become when there is the ‘promise’ of riches. History show the exploitation of the masses for profit for the few. Luckily the ‘masses’ are pooling their resources. Its a shame that by the time the cases come to light these companies will miraculously cease to exist.

      • I doubt it Michael – what accusation are you talking about? If we are talking about the question of who leaked this draft report then presumably if everybody involved observed the required confidentiality then the report was initially only seen by the ASA itself, the complainants, and FoE.

        We don’t KNOW who leaked it but I think we can say with some certainty that it wasn’t in the interests of FoE or the ASA for it to be leaked, whereas your friend Mr Wilkinson does see rather pleased about it. Quote “Now the FoE lawyers are trying to delay the whole thing becoming public. Seems like that didnt work!”

        Of course without the journalist revealing his source we may never know, so, like the ASA, we’ll just have to make an educated guess.

        So no “accusation” is being made of course Michael. People have to draw their own conclusions.

        However, as a man of the cloth, can you swear to us here that you don’t know who released the information and that it was neither you, nor Ken, nor Cuadrilla? We’ll take silence as a “No” here shall we?

      • michaelroberts

        There is obviously a very good reason why the US has allowed the oil and gas industry to be exempt from

        The Clean Water Act

        The Clean Air Act

        The Groundwater protection Act

        The Safe Drinking Water Act

        The Community right to know Act

        Do You know the reasons?

  7. When INEOS say ‘The additives in frack fluid are classified by the Environment Agency as nonhazardous in the proportions proposed’ they mean once they have been transported to the site and diluted.

    If you take HCl – Ken’s favourite I know 😉 It is typically transported and handled on site at concentrations of about 30-35%. You wouldn’t want to drink that, although Ken might like to volunteer to try if it is as harmless as he maintains.

    • The INEOS brochure, with its title of ‘Additives used in Fracking’ and an image of a hand in what appears to be common beach sand, I believe it is misleading to the general public. Implying that the chemicals used are safe as they are found in small quantities in domestic products also implies safe. These chemicals do not appear to be safe at all.

      Ken, could you add this brochure to you list of complaints to the ASA, please?

      • You can find the complaint at
        I am sorry but your comments on concentration are not science. FoE’s Tony Bosworth was left claiming that ‘sand’ was the carcinogenic material they were concerned about. And yes, that is the sand you get on a beach. The problem you have is that experts have looked at this, the EA, the HSE, the RAE, the Royal Society, IMECH, the IET, the BGS, CIWEM, EASAC, and on and on. There are no real issues, as long as its done properly.

          • Am always polite Ken 🙂

            I do not claim my comments are science. What I see is a spin. The information I have provided is readily available on the internet. I’m sure FOE have access to as many experts as ‘ the EA, the HSE, the RAE, the Royal Society, IMECH, the IET, the BGS, CIWEM, EASAC, and on and on’.

            ‘There are no real issues, as long as its done properly’. This myth has already been busted.

            Oh and it’s Sherwulfe

            • Excellent Sherwulfe 🙂 Please see the comments by TW above. The problem is that FoE do not have access to scientists. I know as I spent many days dissecting their claims. Their claims that ‘fracking caused water pollution’ involved examples that were nothing to do with fracking, and the ASA accepted that. Fracking has never polluted water supplies. Dumping fluids on the ground above aquifers on the other hand, has caused pollution but thats not permitted in the UK.

              The claims about ‘toxic and carcinogenic’ materials ignore EU and UK law, and so on.

              The whole anti frack narrative has been busted open as a fraud on the public I am afraid

              • Compare these two statements

                “Fracking has never polluted water supplies”

                “In one field in Alberta, Canada, there is evidence that fracturing in the same formation as a drinking water resource (in combination with well integrity problems; see Section led to gas migration into water wells”

                One is Ken Wilkinson. The other is the US EPA.

                Now, I don’t think anyone is claiming that every well is going to cause pollution of water supplies, but then again it would be equally foolish to claim “Fracking has never polluted water supplies” given that there appears to be evidence that it has.

                The claims about ‘toxic and carcinogenic’ materials do not “ignore EU and UK law, and so on.” They simply acknowledge that legislation is an aspiration not a certain control. We make theft illegal. That does not stop it happening Ken.

                I’d say your whole pro-frack narrative has been “busted open as a fraud on the public I am afraid”, but we’ll get the proof of that when you are exposed to questions from that same public at the Harrogate debate I guess.

                Good luck!

        • Ken – I doubt I am alone in finding your comments about silica distasteful.

          We all know how you have tried to ridicule anyone who raises this issue but the reality is that (and I quote) “Air sampling results show that the majority of silica levels at hydraulic fracturing sites [in USA] were above the Occupational Safety and Health Administration allowable standard and 84% were above Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s new proposed standard. These exposure levels put workers, particularly sand mover operators and T-belt operators who had the highest levels, at risk of silicosis and the other silica-related conditions of lung cancer, end-stage renal disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, and connective tissue disease. ”

          This is no laughing matter.

          Making silly comments about beaches is juvenile and inappropriate so please don’t do it.

          • You beat me to it John Hobson!
            To say that fracking sand is just stuff you find on a beach and is perfectly safe re-emphasises that you should stick to your physics Ken. Silica sand is mined, it is not beach sand. And if we refer to the US which is what you pro-frackers choose to do on many occasions the OSHA list many problems with silica sand and dust exposure including cancers. So you cannot belittle a comment that proppant sand is carcinogen because you know what-it is! Talk about trying to mislead people by making comparisons to the beach….

            • ‘Talk about trying to mislead people by making comparisons to the beach’

              Which it appears INEOS are doing with the photo on their leaflet…

          • The evidence of usage of silica putting public population and rig worker at risk is unfounded as Epidemiological evidence from thousands of od drilling site do not demonstrate a cluster of these health problems as claimed by the activists. So once again it is about the regulations and uses concentration. Just remember alcohol, panadol painkiller and sleeping pill if you ingest enough of them the it becomes fatal.

              • You haven’t resolved this issue by quoting a report which acknowledges the serious problem of respirable crystaline silica and states that “In 2008, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a safety warning, because they have evidence that in the US the risk of exposure to silica dust was not managed effectively.”. With our public service organisations under ever-increasing strain your faith that such regulation as exists can be effectively policed is touching but possibly rather naive. I certainly do not share your faith.

                It may indeed be the goal “to ensure that the sand is transported to the site and introduced to the hydraulic fracturing fluid in a way that worker exposure is minimised” and its all very well the HSE admiring Cuadrilla’s sealed silos, but the sand doesn’t just get delivered and stored does it?It has to be handled and used.

                A study in the USA showed that “the majority of exposures for employees involved working around sand movers (74%), sand transfer belts (83%) and what are called blenders (50%) were above the 40 year old OSHA exposure limits. They also explained that excessive exposures were also documented for employees working upwind but not in the immediate area of sand moving equipment as well as for employees inside truck cabs that did not have fine particulate filters or tight-sealing doors.”

                Maybe the fact that this is rather obvious is one of the reasons the ASA were finding it so hard to digest your serial complaints?

  8. I see fracking boss wannabe Nick Grealy is getting a tad desperate now.

    On his blog comments (28TH SEPTEMBER 2016 AT 5:32 PM ) he states that “FoE deliberately leaked the ASA investigation so it would then be abandoned”. Nice try Nick!

    What hall of mirrors is he living in?

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s