Regulation

FOE’s fracking leaflet – the key arguments

foe-leaflet-cover

DrillOrDrop has identified some of the key arguments over Friends of the Earth’s disputed fund-raising leaflet about fracking.

Earlier this month, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) told the organisation not to use the leaflet again or repeat sections of it without acceptable evidence. (DrillOrDrop report).

This followed a complaint from the shale gas company, Cuadrilla, and Ken Wilkinson and Michael Roberts, two members of the public who have frequently challenged anti-fracking campaign material.

It wasn’t possible to find out much about the case because the ASA resolved the case informally. This meant it did not publish the full grounds of the complaint or any of the defence. And there was no formal ruling by the ASA council on whether Friends of the Earth had been misleading or inaccurate.

But documents have since emerged from a similar complaint by Mr Wilkinson and Rev Roberts about the same leaflet to the now defunct Fund Raising Standards Board (linked here)

DrillOrDrop has used these documents and new material from Friends of the Earth to identify the main arguments for and against the statements in the leaflet. Link to compilation

They cover issues including:

  • Description of chemicals used in fracking
  • The use of silica
  • Health risks, including cancer and asthma
  • The risk of contamination of groundwater
  • House prices
  • Climate change

Friends of the Earth put forward evidence of the risk of additives used in the fracking process, the potential for water contamination and what it said were flaws in the regulatory process. The organisation said:

“We contend that there is a strong and growing body of evidence of the potential health risks from fracking.”

Mr Wilkinson argued that the industry was well regulated and regulations would reduce the likelihood of risks identified by Friends of the Earth. He said:

“Fracking has been performed offshore and onshore frequently, for decades in the UK, and there is no reason to think that the experienced regulators at the HSE [Health and Safety Executive] will not be able to cope with any slight differences.”

“We won’t be silenced on fracking”

Last week, Friends of the Earth defended the leaflet. It’s chief executive, Craig Bennett, said:

“We won’t be distracted from the real issues or silenced from telling people the truth. We continue to stand by our facts.

“Our environment needs protecting; it’s why we believe we should heed expert warnings and why we won’t apologise for rejecting this risky industry, as the people of Lancashire and their elected representatives did.”

Writing on FOE’s website and in a letter to the Lancashire Evening Telegraph last week, Mr Bennett said:

“For clarity, the ASA closed the case informally without making any ruling on our claims or their accuracy. This is in contrast to the formal ruling that the ASA made on the inaccuracy of misleading claims by Cuadrilla in 2013.

“In our case, Friends of the Earth agreed not to reuse an old leaflet, or repeat some specific wording, because the case was taking time away from vital campaigning – we are, after all, talking about an out-of-date leaflet from two years ago.

“But, one thing is certain, we continue to stand by our facts. Indeed, the scientific evidence against fracking is stronger than ever.”

Mr Bennett noted that in December 2016, the US Environmental Protection Agency had identified cases of impacts on drinking water at each stage in the hydraulic fracturing water cycle. He also said:

“A letter from 18 health professionals including Dr Adam, former Deputy Chief Medical Officer, and Dr Gerarda, former chair of the Royal College of GPs, says that ‘the arguments against fracking on public health and ecological grounds are overwhelming’.

“Vitally, if we’re to deal with climate change, fossil fuels must stay in the ground. Fracking just isn’t compatible with that.”

Mr Wilkinson, who has complained to the ASA several times about anti-fracking materials, responded:

“FoE have used justifications that do not stand up to scientific scrutiny.

“They have ignored UK law on chemicals, ignored regulations that mean many US style incidents cannot occur here, and have used very suspect sources for their conclusions, while ignoring reliable sources such as the Royal Academy of Engineering report of fracking.

“I feel that FoE are in a very difficult position, legally and morally. They are ignoring the regulator, playing fast and loose with Charity Commission standards, and continuing to mislead the public.”

Link to compilation of arguments

63 replies »

  1. Occupational lung diseases: from old and novel exposures to effective preventive strategies

    Paul Cullinan, Xavier Muñoz, Hille Suojalehto, Raymond Agius, Surinder Jindal, Torben Sigsgaard, and others
    The Lancet Respiratory Medicine
    Published: January 6, 2017

    This Lancet article draws attention to the health risks associated with fracking with particular reference to site workers. It does so in the following manner, and I quote: “Hydraulic fracking to extract natural gas involves the insertion underground of pressurised sand, water, and other materials and could impose a serious threat to workers who are often exposed to silica, combusted byproducts of mineral oils, various other inhalable organic materials, and hydrogen sulphide, with the risk of developing a wide array of respiratory problems including asthma, COPD, silicosis, and lung cancer.  In a 2013 study, investigators documented high concentrations of silica at fracking sites, posing a serious threat to the workers because reliance on respirators did not provide enough protection. Fracking also generates nitrogen oxides, ozone, and various other air pollutants to which nearby residents are exposed. Any fracking operations require adequate risk assessments and the implementation of appropriate preventive measures.”
    In a better world it would be beyond belief that industry would contrive and our government would connive in exposing people to such risks.

  2. “Fracking also generates nitrogen oxides, ozone, and various other air pollutants to which nearby residents are exposed.” As do any internal combustion engines.

    So no one living near shale gas sites drives a car, particularly a diesel engined car, no one lives near a road, no one lives near a quarry….

    Shale gas sites do not generate any more pollutants than any other industry or road. In fact the emmissions controls and reporting are probably stricter on oil and gas sites than most other industrial premises.

    “Any fracking operations require adequate risk assessments and the implementation of appropriate preventive measures”. Well so thats okay then. This is another scaremongering story with no real content. Risks are to site workers just like any other industrial practices and appropriate risk assessments and preventative measures are taken. Move on….

    • By your logic then an 8hr-12hr shift worker exposed to these contaminants (who is most likely wearing safety gear) is to be treated as similarly to eg a child or elderly person living close by, exposed 24×7 to the same contaminants and without any safety gear. This is why there’s a difference between Public Health and Environmental Health.

    • You are still confusing the old world of O&G that you have known in the past Paul with the current world of fracking as it is being practiced today and causing the very problems you deny. Your refusal to look at any examples of actual exposures and health impacts that have happened, and are happening in the States, with the practices that are about to be introduced here, is worse that ostrich-like because you are making dogmatic pronouncements based on that I-see-nothing perspective.

      • The problem Phillip is that FoE were unable to provide solid evidence of any health effects. There have been loads of papers identifying ‘potential harm’ or other factors. Also no lawsuits from fracking on health issues. Thats what Public Health England found. Properly regulated there are no serious issues, as has been found by so many eminent bodies.

        • There is plenty of evidence Ken and as I understand it plenty was provided. The observations and numerous records are indeed ‘scientific’ in the sense of being based on repeat observations and documented in all kinds of ways – but still in the form of raw data as it were. There is nothing unscientific about that, nor should raw data be called ‘unscientific’ just because it has not (as yet) been subjected to stringent, extensive scientific investigation and peer reviewed studies (which take several years). It is simply wrong to use the term ‘lack of scientific proof’ so misleadingly when there are laws, and science actually based on the risks in question already – you would equally be unable to disprove the suspected causal relations.

          Relevant science in the form of risk factors are embodied in the present EA risk assessment for hydraulic fracturing. Despite what Paul T says above people are being exposed to those risk factors and I would defy you (who make so many claims based on what is/not ‘scientific’) to show a mathematical working through of the actual risks, statistically speaking, of those factors that are considered in the harmful category. As the RA implies the risks/impacts can be reduced to ‘low’ with suitable mitigation steps. Would you kindly substitute the ‘low’ for a meaningful percentage then aggregate those percentages across all the factors that could prove dangerous (potentially with serious impacts) and then scale the outcome to 100 and 1000 well scenarios. Without pressing you for credentials I’d like to see the colour of your science and whether you are really capable of proving that those risks can be held to be vanishingly small as you seem to assume. This is a serious challenge and I look forward to your response.

          • Its the Environment Agency and the HSE that do the risk analysis. Clearly they have looked at the US experience, which contrary to reports, is one of loads of wells drilled with no significant issues for years now. Constantly harping on about a few historical cases of cowboy drilling is hardly relevant.
            For me I am not an expert, but know people who are. I have 12 years as a wireline contracting engineer on oil rigs and was the most senior engineer in my company, dealing with well issues, but that was 30 years ago.

            Please take a look at the actual letters that I wrote on https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/paradise-lost-the-epic-saga-of-friends-and-the-earth-and-fracking/
            Please feel free to take the science apart.

            • My thoughts were based on your letter Ken (and your regular comments here)…. there were some good points and it is right to pull apart some of the emotive stuff (the heading and the Lakeland picture etc), but as so often happens in these highly polarised arguments, things go overboard, and you reveal your own emotive and unscientific posturing as well. You simply assume thereby that every claim on that leaflet is false and become responsible for this (peeny amplified) chorus of ‘lying propaganda’.

              Meanwhile I tried 3 times – on this site – to get someone to disprove any of FoE’s front page bullet points with no luck. Another challenge still outstanding.

              I note your repeated abuse of the term ‘scientific’ (in these threads) Ken, with no backup, but accompanied by lofty declamations about there being no risks (a position that is both ridiculous and impossible) along with the incredible falsehood that there have been no environmental and safety concerns worth mentioning in the USA.

              Should you keep using terms like ‘scientific’ in your debate then I request that you either get those experts you refer to to write responses themselves or that you accept my statistics challenge and prove (of yourself) some scientific credibility.

          • Please explain why public health England say this is low risk Phillip. Also the other elite organizations RAE, BGS, EASAC etc. there really are few issues.
            Did you read my comments on the FOE letter to the FRSB? Please advise where I have made mistakes. You talk of science and evidence. Perhaps you could advise FOE? They do seem to be in a bind after all.
            Fake science is a perfect description of FOE’s stance. I am sorry if you cannot see that. It would seem you have been viewing non scientific anti frack websites, and assuming they are impartial, like the ASA. Oh well!

            • Firstly, why do you mislead by saying ‘Public Health England say this is low risk’? Please show me what your statement is based on – their most up to date report is here along with its executive summary: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/332837/PHE-CRCE-009_3-7-14.pdf

              You are presumable talking about the risks minimised through best practices and strong regulation… “An assessment of the currently available evidence indicates that the potential risks to public health from exposure to the emissions associated with shale gas extraction will be low if the operations are properly run and regulated.” (quoted from the executive summary). That is not the same a s saying the risks are low as there are some serious implications there.

              As the EA’s risk assessment (which some of your other bodies contribute to) points to serious risk factors – that is the nature of my challenge – to show how those factors are evaluated scientifically. The EA report goes on to say: The risks from small scale drilling for exploratory purposes (eg single wells) are clearly different from the risks from commercial scale operations. ‘The potential health impact from single wells is likely to be very small, but the cumulative impacts of many wells in various phases of development in relatively small areas are potentially greater and will need careful scrutiny, during the planning process.”

              Impacts (from evidence where HVHF is going on) are still coming to light as certain risks have not had the attention they should have had from the outset. I have no interest in fake science but I am very concerned about people who falsify the science or make blanket claims on its behalf that are unjustified.

              Please read Mike Hill’s riposte to the RS/RAE 2012 (let me know of anything more recent) position on shale gas regulation : http://frackfreeryedale.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Mike-Hill-Paper-on-RS-Report-and-Current-Status-Final4-.pdf

        • I feel like I’m on a merry go round.

          How many times will I keep having to cut and paste the looooooong list of professional organisation’s , headed by world leading Professors, Doctors of science, medicine and engineering that all say Fracking is dangerous.

          The EA, do you really, REALLY believe they are up to the job ???? For anyone wanting to consider that, look at their handling of the Davyhulme Incinerator application in Trafford, ( Trafford, Breath Clean Air Group Website. )

          The law works differently in the US. Only an insane madman or a billionaire would dare consider locking horns with the US oil industry. With an endless supplies of cash, the costly litigation would be dragged on until you are penniless.

          To add to that, the cosy relationship between the oil industry and the US government, how far do you think the ordinary layman would get ???

          Like I say, only a madman or a billionaire would consider such a risk.

          https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cosy-relationship-revealed-between-government-office-and-oil-industry-1982898.html%3Famp?client=ms-android-samsung

          With so many professional bodies warning of serious health issues , surely the ” precautionary principle ” must be adopted.

          IF NOT WHY ?????

    • But thousands of people die every year from air pollution from disel engines, so I think it rather flippant to say people living near a busy road, people who suffer quarry traffic or fracking traffic and diesel operated fracking pumps will not be harmed.
      The ReFine study, albeit based on the US, showed a 30% worsening of air quality in fracking areas. This pollution causes premature death and that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
      This is a real health issue without even having to stray into the VOC’s etc.

      • And yet the benefits of reductions in pollutants from fracking are overwhelmingly positive. Look at the declines in Co2, NOx, SO2, Particulate Matter, and other contaminants since fracking began.

        From the Pennsylvania Dept of Env. Protection: “It is important to note that across-the-board emission reductions … can be attributed to the steady rise in the production and development of natural gas, the greater use of natural gas, lower allowable emissions limits, installation of control technology and the deactivation of certain sources.”

        The study you cite refers to nitrogen oxide levels increasing from the extra truck movements. Of course these impacts would be overwhelmed by the large scale reductions in other pollutants. Also, just remember that the truck movements to put up a wind turbine are much more costly to the environment on an energy-equivalent basis. Ditto for solar.

        • Misleading, that argument only applies to States (like Pa) that have been heavily dependent on older, dirtier forms of ff energy, chiefly coal mining and coal fired power stations.

          • Wrong again, Phil. [Edited by moderator] We’ve burned coal all over the US, so the benefits of fracking are distributed throughout the country.

            Wasn’t it you who was arguing that the UK should back a greater reliance on coal in its efforts to become Green?

            • That’s incorrect peeny – do your homework. How about you join Paul and Ken and Create Gasland III – the theme park? You could have guided tours amongst miraculous air cleaning gas wells and pretty maidens skipping through wildflower meadows and dancing in circles around compressor stations.

              Mischievous as ever peeny. My comments about coal were based on a few assumptions 1) that you forget about all old methods of coal handling (and firing) and look at some of the radical new clean-coal and zero-carbon power-gen methods 2) that there are whole communities in Britain that have traditions located and built around coal mining who could service a partial reboot of that industry 3) that it would still only be regarded as a transition fuel – but it would not demand new gas/well/pipeline infrastructure (and fracking will leave a decaying legacy after a single generation or less) and 4) as some 3rd world countries have cheap coal and will probably not transition easily to a gas grid the UK could help pilot some new clean coal practices, and lead by example, while on the path to renewables.
              … I haven’t done any sums on that and don’t know if it’s viable at all, but I’d be interested if anyone else is doing that kind of investigation.

              • Can you provide any proof whatsoever that the benefits of fracking in terms of reductions in co2, nox, so2, particulates, and other airborne pollutants, are not greater than the increased emissions from the act of gas extraction?

    • Perhaps in your mind Malcolm but everything all those risks on the FoE leaflet are what people near fracking operations have been and are being exposed to. OK it needs perspective but the incidences are documented well enough… ‘scaremongering rubbish’ is just another form of over-reaction – polarising and misleading (more heat than light).

      I have never studied the FoE sources by the way, nor am I familiar with their arguments, but in studying this whole matter independently I have seen plenty of examples and documented cases of all of those things they seek to make people aware of.

  3. For anyone, like myself, who has worked in marketing, will recognise the ASA is an INDEPENDENT body who has a function to inspect the authenticity of claims made to promote a “product”.
    If a claim is made, those who make the claim should be expected to have absolute proof they are correct, and can be verified if challenged. I employed an independent marketing advisor who played devils advocate and also had to get all such material inspected and verified by a large technical department who had to confirm that all information could be proven. If required, a company legal expert would also be involved. This all took place before any publication was made. If I got it wrong, it would not only be a case of bad publicity but P45 time.
    During the very long process of this particular investigation it would appear FOE were unable to validate their claims. I really can not see any ambiguity in this situation. There appears to be an expectation that the ASA will publish all discussions and details of their investigations. Of course they will not, they publish the outcome. There is no conspiracy. Every other COMPANY is expected to play by these rules.
    To say “we won’t be silenced on fracking” is simply a smokescreen. That is not the issue, the issue is that whatever is said and printed can be verified so that the public are not misinformed. Exactly the same “rules” apply to Cuadrilla etc.,and can be utilised by any member of the public.
    I see contributors on this site claim the majority are against fracking. Utter nonsense, but even to claim it when a proportion of them may have been swayed by such promotion does the cause of the antis no good at all.

    • “If I got it wrong, it would not only be a case of bad publicity but P45 time.” – Do you know who got sacked at Cuadrilla over their “Community Newsletter” fiasco then?

      If you want to get a real feel for what the public think I’d like to invite you to stand by my side outside Cuadrilla’s site (the invitation is extended to anyone else too – even Peeny!).

      There you can watch the thumbs ups being given to the protectors who the fracking PR industry is trying to deride, and listen to the horns being honked in their support.

      Of course it’s not as scientific as a wave poll like the one DECC / DCLG do but it’s highly gratifying nonetheless – I find it makes it worth standing in the rain (You of course may not find it quite so pleasing.)

      BTW – Lancashire for Shale have just been reported to the ASA for their ludicrous claims about the cost of protest to local businesses.
      http://www.refracktion.com/index.php/accounting-for-dummies-or-lancashire-for-shale/

      I wonder how that will pan out. The ASA can hardly ignore the complaint after all this fuss about FoE can they?

      We could start on UKOOG’s claims about industrialisation next. 🙂

  4. Mr Wilkinson said “Fracking has been performed offshore and onshore frequently, for decades in the UK, and there is no reason to think that the experienced regulators at the HSE [Health and Safety Executive] will not be able to cope with any slight differences.”
    This statement is incorrect, as Horizontal High Pressure ‘Slick Water’ Hydraulic Fracturing, (Fracking) has not been carried out, onshore or offshore in the United Kingdom. Except for the exception of the Cuadrilla test drilling at Peese Hall.
    Supporters of ‘Fracking’, like to include enhanced methods used to extract oil or gas from depleted oil and gas from conventional wells, as ‘fracking’. There is no comparison between the two: http://www.slb.com/services/technical_challenges/enhanced_oil_recovery.aspx

    • Perhaps you could entertain us Patrick with a scientific justification as to why that would be a significant issue? Geologists and engineers have no concerns with the high volumes and this is the realm of the scientist after all. .

      High volume HF was carried out in the N Sea and in Germany in the 70s with no issues. Sorry, you are misinformed. Its no big deal.

      See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_United_Kingdom#Offshore

      • The section you refer, is about vertical ‘massive’ fracturing and the article sates in the 1980s! Then if you read further down the article:
        “In 1997, Nick Steinsberger, an engineer of Mitchell Energy (now part of Devon Energy), applied the slickwater fracturing technique, using more water and higher pump pressure than previous fracturing techniques, which was used in East Texas by Union Pacific Resources (now part of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation), in the Barnett Shale of north Texas.[33] In 1998, the new technique proved to be successful when the first 90 days gas production from the well called S.H. Griffin No. 3 exceeded production of any of the company’s previous wells.[37][38] This new completion technique made gas extraction widely economical in the Barnett Shale, and was later applied to other shales.[39][40][41] George P. Mitchell has been called the “father of fracking” because of his role in applying it in shales.[42] The first horizontal well in the Barnett Shale was drilled in 1991, but was not widely done in the Barnett until it was demonstrated that gas could be economically extracted from vertical wells in the Barnett.[33]”.
        And it is this type ‘fracking’, using more water and higher pressures, is what we are referring too, a new technique. The article goes on to state, “Since the early 2000s, advances in drilling and completion technology have made horizontal wellbores much[clarification needed] more economical.”
        Wikipedia is not a scientific journal, geologists are funded by the oil, gas and mineral extraction industries and I am an Engineer, who is very concerned about this issue! And once again, the one thing missing from this issue, is ‘climate change’. We need to drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels, to avoid catastrophic climate change. Using novel methods to extract any form of fossil fuels, is the act of a desperate addict.

      • ‘Geologists and engineers have no concerns’

        You should have put

        ‘Some other geologists and engineers that someone told me about, other than those from the British Geological Survey who are the only ones to have conducted an official report on the only fracked shale gas well ever in the UK, told someone who told someone who told me that they have no concerns.

        The complexity and difficulties working in the Bowland Basin are highlighted many times by the British Geological Survey in the official review of the report, prepared solely to advice The Department of Energy and Climate Change, on the events which took place during 6 small fracking operations at the Preese Hall well in 2011 which were responsible for 50 recorded seismic events.

        ‘The reports from these studies conclude that the earthquake activity was caused by direct fluid injection into an adjacent fault zone during the treatments.’

        There are numerous references suggesting dangers associated with any future operations

        ‘we are not convinced by the projected low probability of other earthquakes during future treatments’

        ‘The analyses failed to identify a causative fault, and knowledge of faulting in the Basin is poor. In the present state of knowledge it is entirely possible that there are critically stressed faults elsewhere in the Basin’

        ‘The reason for such high leak off is correctly indicated as probably due to extensive natural fractures’

        ‘Although some large scale structures have been mapped earthquakes in the magnitude range of 2 to 3 M require only relatively small rupture areas,and so can occur on small faults’

        There are many more similar references

        These references to the fault system become even more concerning when reading Cuadrilla’s request for future seismic threshold to be set at 2.6M (1.7M plus 0.9M post injection magnitude increase) An astonishing request after the repercussions of triggering a 2.3M.

        This request is not accepted by the BGS but the careful wording of ‘for the next few events’ and ‘can be adjusted over time’ puts great doubt on how long the imposed 0.5M would be adhered to.

        The Ineos shale team, with their US expert advisers, recently commented on the risks of working in the Bowland shale.

        Cuadrilla’s geologists and engineers really shone with professionalism at Preese Hall.

        They really are the pied piper of UK shale.

        Not really a ‘no concern’ scenario to any one with the ability to read.

        Sorry Ken you are clearly not following what is going on here.

  5. UK law on Chemicals ? Someone needs to tell NI about that law .. It would seem according to NI assembly and Minister’s answer that the Petroleum Producton Regulations in NI, which are pretty similar to the UK regs, can be used (whether legally or not) to confer confidentiality on chemicals used in the drilling process. http://aims.niassembly.gov.uk/questions/printquestionsummary.aspx?docid=268061
    When a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly requested information regarding Biocide T, they were refused information due to commercial confidentiality.

    • In the UK the Environment Agency require that individual chemicals and their nature are published. There are no ‘secret’ or propriety mixtures allowed. I believe the concentrations can be confidential, but the Planning docs all list the individual chemicals. The ‘secret chemicals’ is another myth.

  6. Please look at the details on https://drillordrop.com/key-arguments-in-the-complaint-against-the-friends-of-the-earth-leaflet/ for the full blow by blow account. Bear in mind this was just my complaint. I have no idea of what Cuadrilla wrote.

    Horizontal drilling was developed in the North Sea, and a combination of a variety of differentt techniques has not caused issues in the US. Theres a million wells there using these techniques with no significant issues.

    • There is a big difference between conventional horizontal drilling and High Pressure Slick Water Horizontal Fracturing. And there are plenty of issues concerning ‘fracking’ in the USA and Australia. Not are only trying to confuse the issue, you are also exaggerating the number of wells. Doing the very thing, you accuse those against ‘fracking’ shale gas of doing.
      And even in the mature UK offshore oil and gas industry there are incidents: https://www.hse.gov.uk/hcr3/.

      • Two totally separate things Patrick.
        1. Horizontal drilling (a very advanced technology now) and
        2, Hydraulic fracturing, in multiple separate stages.
        Please explain why these are an issue, and why this concerns you.

        I dont think I ever mentioned multiple wells in my complaint although I have at other times. It seems a very good idea to have 1 wellpad with 40 wells or so. Why not? and why have antifrack groups constantly shown pictures of single wellpads, designed to deliberately scare people?

        A few historical incidents from cowboys in the US is not a reason to ban a whole industry see https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2016/07/27/former-gov-ed-rendell-i-made-a-mistake-on-shale-gas/

        Australia (Queensland) is coal seam gas, which is completely different to shale gas extraction. I am unsure of the impacts of this.

        I gather that UKOOG published a video and paper that visualises the impact that this style of drilling would cause. http://www.ukoog.org.uk/community/what-it-looks-like

  7. As a scientist I understand that there are many identified risks and potential harm from many sources. It is called association. However this assumption of associated risk become speculative nonsense when there is no statistical significant correlation known as clustering effect. There is no evidence from millions of wells in US and site workers are at risk from such claims by the FoE leaflet.
    The local is only exposed for a short period of aFew weeks of operations and at the longer distance while the workers are exposed through many years of their working life and in close proximity so they are at much higher risk. And stll no evidence of clustering effects among shale workers.

  8. Phillip P. This is a direct quote of the authors of the public health study on fracking you provided as evidence of fracking as the cause of these illnesses as claims by FoE leaflet and anti fracking activists.

    “Researchers associated with the Yale and Colorado studies, for instance, noted that their findings don’t prove that gas production caused the health problems, but instead flag a potential link that needs further investigation.”

    By the sound of their statement it is either the association is not statically significantly or the increase risk is small which could mean it is circumstancial evidence.

    • Good points TW. Again Phillip P, what they do in the US is not relevant in the UK with regard to air pollution. Venting of methane is not permitted and it is required that air monitoring is in place.

      I agree with TW. You are going round in circles trying to find holes that do not exist in the UK context. Even in the US context they have had no significant problems in recent years.

      • Such nonsense – the tide of objections and resistance to fracking in the USA is growing, along with county by county moratoriums and bans, and the science is gradually tightening the noose. See my response to TW below Martin’s comment …

  9. I thought the subject was about the FOE! Interesting how rapidly a smoke screen is utilised.

    And, yes, anyone can report a company to the ASA. They will investigate and rule, if the complaint has any basis in fact and is not purely malicious. If the defence of certain individuals, is that others have done it so it is OK for FOE, then murder would be rampant on our streets.

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