Fracking causes earthquakes. Fact.
No, I’m not starting an alarmist tome here or saying that peoples water is going to be full of gas and chemicals, although that surely can be an issue if the technology isn’t used safely. But the basic process of “fracking” is fracturing the rock in order to release the gas, and that causes small to tiny earthquakes.
Is it dangerous? Well, I guess that would all depend on how stable the tectonic plate is. In the UK we are lucky in that in “relative terms”, we are on a stable base. And by stable I mean we get lots of minor earthquakes all the time. Don’t believe me, check it out here. So you have to giggle when the UK’s fracking testing near Blackpool was halted due to a 1.5 magnitude quake. After all, in the last 50 days of this post being written we had;
- 1.6 Spean Bridege, Scotland (11th December)
- 1.6 Llanrtyd Wells, Wales (8th December)
- 1.7 Shieldaig, Scotland (8th December)
- 2.1 Pattersdate, Cumbria, England (28th November)
- 2.0 Islay Argyll and Bute, Scotland (22nd November)
- 2.7 Northwest of Ireland (21st November)
And so on.
I was in Manchester when the 3.9 hit in 2002 and IT WAS COOL! I also felt the December 2010 3.5 which was in Coniston, Cumbria all the way down in Manchester. That was cool also.
Sorry, back to the point.
There is a general hope being propagated by drilling companies and mass media that cheap gas will boost the UK economy in the same way it was affected the US.
This is a lie.
Why so? Due to environmental taxation, any increase in gas production will be met by an increase in CO2 tax. So the boost to the economy will assist the drilling companies, put more money into the tax system but Joe and Josephine Public will see NO decrease in their energy bills, as the BBC quietly announce here. So in case you thought it was going to be a benefit to you, think again. YOU don’t count. Only big business and the Government count.
The irony here is that the gas used to be a major hazard for coal mining within Lancashire and further afield. Now we are drilling past our still substantial coal reserves in order to tap into the hazardous gas.