“Fracking is impractical in the UK” – US campaigner

Wenona Hauter Preston New Road 170605 Food and Water Europe

Wenonah Hauter (left) at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site with Andy Gheorghiu, of Food & Water Europe. Photo: Food & Water Europe

Narrow roads, problems with waste disposal and a lack of research by regulators make fracking impractical in the UK, according to a campaigner who has secured bans on the process in the US.

Wenonah Hauter, founder and executive director of the campaign group, Food and Water Watch, has been visiting sites scheduled for fracking at Preston New Road in Lancashire and Kirby Misperton in North Yorkshire.

She told DrillOrDrop:

“My major reaction is the impracticality of fracking with narrow roads in the UK.

“I see no way of dealing with waste disposal in this country if they pursue fracking as the level that they would like to pursue it.

“It seems as though they haven’t really done the proper research even into how they would manage to put all of these wells in an area that’s populated and that has very limited road access to these sites. We know that every fracked well takes about a thousand truck loads of material going into these very narrow sites.”

Speaking during a tour to launch her new book, Frackopoly, Ms Hauter described the work of UK local authorities on fracking as “completely inadequate”

She said:

“I think that there’s not a completely understanding from the authorities here about what the level of gas extraction would mean for the countryside.

“One of the first questions I asked when I went to the site near Preston was what will happen to the liquid waste. We know that, depending on the geology, we’re talking about millions of gallons of water. The overall average in the US is 1.7m gallons per fracked well.

“Depending on the geology, much of this waste water and a lot of the materials from deep underground – some of which are radioactive – come back up to the surface and it doesn’t seem like there are any sufficient plans for dealing with this level of waste water.”

Wenona Hauter at Preston Mystery Tea House 170607 Food and Water Europe

Wenonah Hauter with anti-fracking campaigners in Preston. Photo: Food & Water Europe

Ms Hauter rejected the argument of the fracking industry that shale gas could be a bridge fuel to a low carbon future.

“We see this as part of a large push by the fossil fuel industry to increase and prolong the use of gas rather than having the types of policy that we should have to move off gas, beyond gas, in fact to become more energy efficient.

“I’m struck travelling around the UK, we should see every existing building being retrofitted with new windows as part of energy efficiency measures and that’s where the real job production could be, rather than all of this pressure towards having more gas production and more gas infrastructure.”

Asked whether the US experience could be applied in the UK, she said:

“I think it is completely relevant. I know that the authorities here and the industry has said ‘oh we have much better regulation in the UK’ but it simply isn’t the case.

“This is an industry that can’t really be very well-regulated because when you are drilling a vertical well a mile or two miles deep into the earth and then doing horizontal drilling with all of these fractures, it’s very difficult to regulate.

“I would advise any local authority who is considering going along with this to take a field trip to some of the places in the US where fracking has taken place and talk to the people in the communities whose lives are being impacted by fracking.”

Food and Water Watch was the first US national campaign organisation to call for a ban on fracking. It has since worked to secure bans in New York state and Maryland.

Ms Hauter said she thought anti-fracking campaigners in the UK were up against large opponents. But she was optimistic they would succeed.

“We would never have believed that we could beat these companies in some states in the US and begin to ban fracking there and begin to make a national movement. I hope that happens here before too much damage is done.”

Asked what campaign techniques could be successful, she said:

“What we’ve learned is that you have to reach out to many different kinds of people

“There are many constituencies that will be affected by fracking in a specific area. One of them is tourism. Another is agriculture. Talking to people about the effects on these industries in other places and the concern about them is one of the ways to really take this message to the local authorities.”

She said organic restaurants and food shops in the US refused to take produce from fracking areas. In Maryland, campaigners worked with the tourism industry to establish a political campaign.

“There are a lot of different ways that this affects people in their everyday lives and that’s how you put together campaigns like the ones we’ve had in the US. You’re really looking at people’s self-interest and how this is going to affect their family.

“I think that isn’t quite apparent to a lot of people in the UK yet because there haven’t been the media investigations that there should be into what this really means.

“I can’t imagine someone living in Kirby Misperton, where the roads are so narrow, are going to allow this to happen to their communities once they realise what it means on a large scale. Hopefully they’ll be holding their local officials accountable.”

97 replies »

  1. Theresa May has hinted that some manifesto pledges will be cut in order to make progress in Parliament due to her paper thin majority.
    Surely anything contentious will have to be dropped.

    Interesting observations here in the Chester Chronicle —


    Has fracking has been haunting Mrs May and has she decided that will be binned –at least for now.

    For goodness sake — she’s a geography graduate — she must surely know on-shore shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracturing in unconventional sources is a ridiculous and dangerous idea with all manner of impacts and legacies. She cannot be happy ignoring the issues mentioned by Food and Water Watch and Frackopoly and similar campaigners.

    However exploring the geology for the NSIP — deep geological storage of nuclear waste on shore — will perhaps stay on the agenda.

    • Let NASA explain why everybody should be maximising their renewable energy potential, saving energy, and trying to limit mass migration of the human species.

      If you think people stay put when their environments become unable to support life have a listen to the Pentagon who state climate change is a threat to national security.

      Time for all Governments to act now.

    • May is about to be binned for being too left wing. The next Conservative leader will push fracking through far quicker.
      I never trusted her to make any decisions that’d upset the squabbling lefties.
      This election will turn out very well for people like me.

      • Such loyalty? if you think that of Teresa May, then what, do you imagine she thinks of people like you?

        • She will have admiration for people like me that actually get the job done. She isn’t comfy in her own skin. Hence the boot.

          • Ha ha! Wow, what an admission! You serious GottaMinusOnTheEthicalScale! Admiration?!! From Teresa May?!! For people like you?!!

            Yeah right! With such staunch loyalty from her rapidly evaporating supporters, the worms are hatching out and the vultures are circling.

            And you all had such high hopes of whooping triumphantly on these pages when the Teresa May inspired tory landslide was going to be announced weren’t you? Fracking Mandate! All Gas ahead! Profits will flow and to hell with the residents? And then?……..What!!……no, that cant be right? I could feel the shockwaves from here.

            And then what did you do? Rally round the blue flag and support Teresa May in her hour of need? Fight your corner against all odds? No you peddle out this hateful diatribe against your former glorious leader and proponent of fracking and stab her in the back as quick as you can? Yeah, she must have the utmost admiration for people like you! Not!

            But don’t worry (you are not), she will soon shed her old skin and grow another. Meanwhile the fracking worms are turning it seems, shades of the lovely “Guy De Gisborne” it seems, such an impressive erudite and fair minded that little back stab was!

            GottaGettaBettaVendetta! It just “Goves” to prove what a bunch of opportunistic mealy minded little little recidivists they all are. I suspect Teresa May has a very precise idea of exactly where she should plant that boot…….

            Don’t you just love the rabid tory dog eat dog politics? If people like you treat their own leader that way, what do you think they will do to protect anyone else? Now we see the truth of tory promises.

            What a sad sorry transparent slow motion car crash little spectacle this has turned out to be!

  2. Well, this lady has been a great success in her own country! Reports in the media today clearly show a large GROWTH in fracking in US which is likely to continue bearing down on the world oil price for years to come, providing benefits for billions of the global population in terms of their everyday costs.
    Who knows, she may even be able to afford a few more transatlantic flights (fuelled by fossil fuel) to give us the benefit of her knowledge, and magnify her carbon footprint. Oh well, she follows a tradition of American’s who need to visit our country to tell us we should do as they say, not what they do.

    Muriel-I think you will find that where the Tories and the DUP already agree, there will be every chance government continue with their existing policy. The Treasury seem concerned about the costs of a deal with the DUP. Maybe there will now be an extra reason to generate tax to allow for easing of austerity. Would be better than a great hike in Corporation Tax which would immediately cause a large rise in inflation and a slashing of Graduate Recruitment Programmes and therefore an increase in unemployment and the benefits bill. We will see next Wednesday.

    • “Muriel-I think you will find that where the Tories and the DUP already agree, there will be every chance government continue with their existing policy.”

      She may get the DUP on board but she will struggle with some of her own backbenchers. For example, the Conservative candidate in North East Derbyshire took the seat after the sitting Labour MP, Natascha Engel, declared her support for Ineos. He said he would oppose fracking and he has confirmed to locals since the election that he will stand by his promise. There are other Tory MPs who have already voted against the party line on fracking.

        • Time will tell. All the national parties except the Tories are committed to banning fracking. The Conservatives are currently in political meltdown following the election and the scandal of the tower block fire. The Government’s own trends monitor shows support for fracking down at 19 per cent. Polls show opposition to a Tory-DUP deal, so it is likely the Tories will de damaged further, particularly going into Brexit talks in the midst of a political crisis. The chances are there there will be another election in the not too distant future and the chances are that the Tories will lose. Anyone putting money into fracking in the current political climate would be very foolish.

  3. Let’s get this straight. Ms. Wenonah flew all the way to the UK to tell you that your roads are too narrow to frack for gas? That’s her big reveal? Nothing about fracking killing babies and causing cancer and causing large chunks of the country to fall into the ocean? What a big surprise!

    Yes, it’s a good idea to give up on the idea of improving energy security, and relying less on foreign dictators for life-giving supplies of gas because the roads are too narrow and because regulators need to do more research. The UK should keep importing natural gas from far flung places and harming the environment in the process unecessarily because the roads are too narrow. And padding the coffers of Qatar and Russia is a much better idea than creating wealth and jobs in the UK, right Wenonah?

  4. You shouldn’t take affront to Wenonah’s demagoguery. She hasn’t reserved it for the UK. She’s also fought to keep fuel poverty high in the US and to keep life-saving GMO products off the shelves all over the world. As many know, GMO technology could have been used to save the lives of millions in Asia through the use of vitamin A enriched Golden Rice, but environmentalists such as Wenonah fought hard to have it banned [edited by moderator].

    Surprised that only Drill or Drop is covering her fossil-fuel-enabled jaunt to the UK!

  5. Rex-the flat earth brigade exist all around the globe-but it still continues to be a globe.

    • Frack earth believers! But the world continues to be an oblate spheroid, but that is a bit technical isn’t it?

  6. Give us food security, water security, clean air security, the basic needs of all living things, above all else.

  7. So PhilC as it is not a globe, there is no global warming. We can all sleep safely in our beds whilst you find another cause. As we, untechnical lower organisms, have stated for some time there are flaws in the science of global warming. Thanks for proving that so simply, that even we can understand.

    • Ha Ha! Like it! 28 miles at the equator is quite a difference isnt it? Perhaps “oblate spheroid warming” didnt quite have the same ring to it? But i guess they needed a good catchy tag to tie the carbon taxes lie to. We are probably lucky that they could spell global?

      That was a good con btw wasn’t it? Lets turn oblate spheroid, sorry “global” warming into a money making scheme and make them grateful for it, like all the best taxes? Money for nothing and we all pay billions for the privilege? What a brilliant scam?

      Was that why they altered the name to climate change? But Trump doesn’t even believe in that does he? So what does he believe in? Another frack earther i suppose? Figures.

      Trouble is climate change is happening, sorry about that, i dont think a change in the name prevents it from being true, nice try though! that must have been a bonus for the carbon taxers? Whether it is at least partially anthropogenic as i and many others suspect, or some solar event cycle buried somewhere in those lies damn lies and statistics. Either way, we either call a halt to what we are doing and re-evaluate the whole shebang, or we drive blindly into a wildly fluctuating ecological future that may well turn around and bite us in the ass.

      Understand that? not too many big words? Not too exciting, or inciting for you? you can rest safely in your bed now, well, for a while anyway.

      Meanwhile no one even mentions fukushima, now that, is an issue that will radiate and radiate and radiate.

      Always a pleasure.

  8. Climate change is a big issue Phil C but only a reality to those who take a serious interest in reality. It’s boring to to the frack-heads whose reality is the world of oil and gas and/or the money to be made from it. So for them I’ve added a link to the author’s take on a recent book ‘Slick Water’ highlighting two outstanding people from the O&G industry – Aubrey McClendon (a man who helped kick-start the whole fracking boom), CEO of American Energy Partners and co-founder of Chesapeake Energy, and Jessica Ernst who has had a career working with several oil and gas companies.

    N.B there’s a rather dull intro but you can skip straight to 4mins for the spectacular McClendon story (if short of time). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdGuWbMwYYU

    • Hi Philip, yes, climate change is real and accelerating, I’m not belittling that impact, only the money making scam that feeds off it.
      Thanks I shall look at the link and reply when I can.

  9. From her vested interests points of view, her tour in among anti fracking brigades in new fracking frontier is certainly help the publicity and promotion of her book Frackopoly to a new demographics of anti frackers. And inadvertently perhaps she is helping her own country shale gas industry and export as UK is currently begining to import shale gas from the US. A win-win for US frackers and anti frackers. A lose-lose for UK.
    Since when the environmentalist became concerned about local countryside ‘narrow road’ as a significant issue and contributor to their climate change and environmental ideology. They just love to pick out liitle issue and flaw in our society and set it as a political agenda to form a movement to pick a fight with the society’s progressive modernization.

  10. Good to have these confirmations from a Americans with direct knowledge of the impacts of the industry…. Size of roads and housing density are very important material considerations regarding fracking and all the logistical processes that surround it. These are just two of many reasons that I, and even Paul Tresto, believe the industry will be a non starter over here – at least at the scales that some people seem to think it will reach. My prediction is that if it achieves any scale at all it will get about as far as satisfying some of Jim Ratcliffe’s/ Ineos’ needs for their plastics operation (i.e for the NG condensates and other by-products), by which time the down-sides should be fully realised and further development halted.

    • And Third Energy (soon to be I-Gas) for KM and the Knapton Gas turbine, expect it to be expanded soon.

    • And yet we Americans managed to frack for oil and gas in areas as densely populated as Los Angeles without problem. Hmmmm.

        • That old chestnut again. An American(?) seems to think you can talk about Los Angeles which has grown up with the automobile, with wide streets and with oil and gas drilling and pipes in its midst, as comparable to anything in the UK.

          • And a Brit who wants to roll out the population density saw against fracking until someone is wise enough to shout him down with facts about the population density of some of the American frack sites comes along! Then he drones on about streets not being wide enough as if that is such an insurmountable obstacle that a nation should give up on its efforts toward energy independence because of it! Love it!

          • I Watched the documentary videos you posted links to last night Philip P, very good, much like Dr Antony Ingraffia, who gets a lot of frackflack here because he is a qualified professor of rock fracturing, and they are not. I’ve not come across this author before. I reposted your links and a source link as it went quiet from the anti anti’s which usually means they cant, or wont look at it.
            Rex is probably one of the multiple ID’s of a chap who used to post as “hballpeeny” often termed “peeny” bit of a hatchet job that got too abusive so changed to lots of ID’s that crop up from time to time, you’ll begin to spot them by the same modus operandi.
            I do sometimes wonder at the remarkably consistently vociferous style of the pro posters as if they stem from the same frack farm agent stable?
            But that is of course sheer speculation and would be labelled conspiracy theory by the pro posters, still…….worth a thought.

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