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Guest post: Yorkshire Landowners question Conservative leadership candidates on fracking

In this guest post, the organisation representing farmers and both small and large landowners in Yorkshire put key questions on fracking to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss.

Fracking operation at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas site. Photo: Cuadrilla Resources

Yorkshire Landowners wrote to Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) on the 20th April 2022 following BEIS’s request to the British Geological Society to review the scientific basis for fracking.

We finally received a reply on 1st July, which was less than satisfactory. Copies of both letters are at the bottom of this post.

Both candidates for the leadership, Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss, are now indicating they would lift the moratorium on fracking contained in the party’s last election manifesto, subject to local support!

This begs several straightforward questions to the candidates:

  1. Why are they prepared to break an election manifesto commitment?
  2. How are they going to assess local support (or otherwise)?
  3. And are they going to encourage that support by offering financial inducement? If so, how are they going to fund it – given the questionable finances of fracking in the US, by way of prime example?  
  4. Would that financial inducement not be better spent on developing climate-friendlier alternatives, given that both candidates have both confirmed their commitment to net zero?
  5. Do they not think it disingenuous – as Liz Truss managed at the first hustings, in Leeds – to convey the impression that fracking is the answer to the elderly questioner’s concern about this winter’s energy price crisis, when UK fracked gas is 10 years or so away, at best?
  6. And how can they explain that this fracked gas is the answer to the UK’s energy security – when, at best, companies such as Ineos are likely simply to use it to underwrite their plastics business? And do they not realise the rest, if any, will be sold at global market prices?
  7. All landowners of every type and size should, by now, know about the crucial issue of residual liability – a classic sting in the tail – but have the two candidates got detailed answers to the myriad questions this raises yet, given this fundamental problem has been pointed out for at least eight years now?
  8. And given the debt mountain in the US fracked business community, as well as orphaned wells in the Canadian equivalent – meaning a sting in the tail for host communities, too – do the two candidates really want to inflict such horrors on England’s green and pleasant land, and its voting inhabitants?

We look forward to receiving their answers.

On behalf of The Yorkshire Landowners, Nick Howard and Kenelm Storey.

DrillOrDrop welcomes guest posts about the UK onshore oil and gas industry. We asked the shale gas lobbying organisation, UKOOG, for a copy of the letter it sent to the Conservative leadership candidates but it did not reply.

41 replies »

  1. “ Plastic is not the pollution, it is what individuals do with it that creates pollution.” The Republicans, arms dealers and arms manufacturers use the same argument about guns. Plastic has served us well, of course, but less of it might now be beneficial, might promote the search for less polluting materials, and might contribute to the far-too-slow demise of FF production and the additional pollution caused by the disposal of waste plastic.
    Interesting to read that some think consumers have a free choice. The advertising and PR industries with a brilliant control over individual psychology at various stages and ages, exist to and are very proficient and successful in managing if not negating that choice. Let’s not carry on fooling ourselves. This limitation of choice extends of course to the political domain where populism, prejudice and biased and partisan media lead and/or confirm many of us, myself included, in a particular direction which exacerbates mutual hostility and is certainly not consistent with freedom of choice.
    As to why we campaign against shale gas whilst believing it not viable, the reasons have been rehearsed often enough on DorD to render the explanation tedious in the extreme. The FF industry has a long-acknowledged interest in promoting its products whilst aware of the harm they do. Historically this has not stopped it, nor does it stop it now, despite the greenwashing at which it is acquiring incredible expertise. It has lied its way into the subconscious where the facts give way before the relentless onslaught of propaganda. The arguments against viability seem three-fold: the nature of the geology of our isles, the time required to secure worthwhile quantities of the product conflicting with the alarming forecasts of climate scientists and mathematicians, and the possibility of damage and inevitability of pollution caused by the process. Many or all of these three arguments are either denied or disputed by some of DorD’s correspondents. That is why we campaign against shale gas. The deniers are still here, and they have a powerful voice.

    • OK, then get rid of yours 1720!

      Ahh, you are not a discerning consumer generally, as well as for plastic, so you blame the marketing sector for that. Maybe another reason not to be too quick to join the “we’s, it doesn’t seem to be anything other than a cult. It does add up-1720 was the classic year where discerning consumers were okay, those that were not lost out.

      Some consumers on DoD recall one person admitting they knew little about the oil and gas industry when challenged by someone who had worked within it. Now, said consumer of fossil fuel products has changed into someone to supply expert advice regarding the production of them. Appears to be just about the most inept marketing attempt I have observed. I am not sure how many potential consumers there are for that product.

      As for all marketing proposals, buyer beware.

  2. Just in case anyone is fooled, I know nothing about the production of FFs, other than the obvious effects of both production and use and the fact that at least since 1979 the industry has lied about the effects, just as the tobacco industry did. For the record I have no expert advice to give on the production of FFs. The fact that the challenge came from one who denies that humans are responsible for global warming via the continuing use of fossil fuels speaks volumes. There would of course be no need to campaign against fossil fuels were they not responsible for our present predicament.
    The sense and relevance of the rest of the post I am afraid eludes me. Translations welcome!

    [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

  3. No translations, sadly.
    Thank heaven’s it’s not just me unable to fathom what on earth this poster is getting at. Is it just random abuse? The words are English, mostly, but the choice of words add up to produce a sentence apparently without connection to what has been said. So, one has to guess.
    What, for example, am I invited to get rid of? Is it my voice?
    How does the writer know I am not a discerning customer? Of whom? Of what? And what is the relevance? I appear to be not a discerning customer “for plastic”! What does this mean? How am I “blaming the marketing sector” ? My reference to marketing was an attempt to show that consumers do not have the free choice the poster had claimed they had.
    And then something about “we” – presumably a reference to the poster´s well-founded charge that I too frequently use “we” to include others of similar mind to myself in the point I am making. Why is this use of ‘we’ the mark of a cult, I wonder. And why are we getting the poster’s gloss on 1720, regardless of historical events in that year?
    And how am I who said I “ knew little about the oil and gas industry when challenged by someone who had worked within it” guilty of “ supply(ing) expert advice regarding the production of them”?
    I offered no such advice other than to stop producing them, believing I had a right so to do.
    And what am I accused of attempting to market? My opinion, founded on scientific fact in opposition to a protagonist of a different opinion, but not so founded.
    I am hoping that I am not alone in experiencing difficulty in responding coherently to someone’s incoherent posts and in urging more thought before submitting such opaque material.

    • Doesn’t look as if anyone wishes to engage, 1720. Looks as if understanding/fathoming was your issue.

      Maybe they understand a lot more than you give them credit for?

      Maybe they find you wanting to personalize your comments when you have difficulties, is not that appealing?

      Maybe they are interested in the subject and not using the platform for political agendas?

      Maybe they just don’t want to be signed up to your group, and expect you to stand on your own two feet?

      Maybe, you should spend more time on facts and less time trying, and failing, to come up with a revised interpretation of fact in an attempt to demonstrate intelligence?

      Maybe your interpretation of scientific fact is somewhat undermined when you have problems defining fact, and then want to change the scientist statement after their death?

      Those are your responsibilities, 1720. Not mine, not others who engage on DoD.

    • Nope, 1720. When you ask me to engage with points, and I do, you only become agitated and withdraw. Or, you then pretend I have not engaged, or you can’t understand. You obviously have your own agenda, which seems more trainee activist than offering anything constructive. That is a very crowded field, 1720, and I am sorry but you have a lot of training to undergo. Not my job to provide help there.

      But I would offer this advice-the more polished activists usually use a forum where their inaccurate comments can not be challenged. Then, they do not need to become agitated and withdraw, repeatedly.

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