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5 Earthquakes Recorded in England Just Days After Fracking Restarts
A string of small earthquakes were reported the town of Blackpool just days after fracking operations restarted in England after a seven year hiatus, raising concerns that the controversial drilling process could eventually trigger bigger temblors.
Most of the earthquakes were at negative levels, meaning they were unnoticeable by residents. However, a 0.3-magnitude earthquake recorded on Friday hit amber on the government's monitoring scale, meaning Cuadrilla has to "proceed at caution," Friends of the Earth Campaigner Rose Dickinson told Metro.co.uk.
British Geological Survey
Incidentally, fracking was halted at the Blackpool site in 2011 because of earthquakes. The largest had a magnitude of 2.3 and was felt locally.
"Since hydraulic fracturing operations started at Preston New Road, near Blackpool, we have detected some small earthquakes close to the area of operations," BGS said, as quoted by the Guardian. "This is not unexpected since hydraulic fracturing is generally accompanied by micro-seismicity. The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) has strict controls in place to ensure that operators manage the risk of induced seismicity."
The government has a traffic-light system that immediately halts operations if seismic activity exceeds 0.5 on the Richter scale.
"All of the earthquakes detected at Preston New Road so far are below the threshold required to cease hydraulic fracturing," BGS added.
Cuadrilla has shrugged off the minor seismic activity. It retweeted a post from seismologist Stephen Hicks, who commented that Friday's 0.3-magnitude earthquake could "set a new world record for one of the world's smallest earthquakes that has been reported on by multiple media outlets."
"The micro seismic events which have been recorded through the detailed monitoring Cuadrilla and the BGS are carrying out are successfully detecting events even at these very low levels," the company said, per the Guardian. "This is not an 'amber' incident under the traffic light system operated by the OGA as we were not pumping fracturing fluid as part of our hydraulic fracturing operations at the time and the seismic events remain under 0.5 local magnitude."
However, opponents said that the earthquakes are proof that fracking poses too many risks.
"Recent research by Stanford University shows that these tiny tremors can be indicators of bigger quakes to follow—like canaries in a coal-mine," David Smythe, emeritus professor of geophysics at the University of Glasgow, told Metro.co.uk.
"The problem for Cuadrilla is that if it carries on regardless, bigger earthquakes may well be triggered," Smythe continued. "To quote Cole Porter, 'There may be trouble ahead.' Cuadrilla's only safe option is to cease fracking."
With drilling underway, documents obtained by Greenpeace's Unearthed show that ministers are looking to weaken earthquake standards at fracking sites.
In a letter sent to Conservative MP Kevin Hollinrake in July, UK energy minister Claire Perry said the traffic-light system is "set at an explicitly cautious level but, as we gain experience in applying these measures, the trigger levels can be adjusted upwards without compromising the effectiveness of the controls."
Earlier this month, a high court judge allowed drilling to restart in England despite years of anti-fracking protests and last-ditch legal bids.
Environmentalists warn that increased gas extraction not only jeopardizes the country's emissions reduction targets, it also skirts warnings from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that says we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 percent below 2010 levels by 2030 in order to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.