The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
British energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry approved the first well in July, the day before parliament headed to summer recess, The Independent reported.
The second approval came six days into another parliamentary recess, for party conference season, and fracking opponents have criticized the timing of the approvals.
"They know it's totally unpopular; they know some of their own MPs are against it, so they sneak this through in an underhand manner," Frack Free Lancashire media team member Pam Foster told The Independent.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas took to Twitter Wednesday to oppose the decision.
"Claire Perry has just granted permission for another fracking well at Preston New Road just two months after it trampled over local democracy and approved the first. And they've done it during recess so MPs can't hold them to account," she tweeted, according to The Independent.
No fracking has taken place in the UK in seven years after fracking by Cuadrilla near Blackpool caused earthquakes in 2011, Reuters reported.
The government, however, eager to increase energy independence, has upped regulations and hopes to try again.
It has introduced a system that will stop work on fracking wells if activity of 0.5 or greater on the Richter scale is detected and has stepped up groundwater checks.
"Shale gas has the potential to be a new domestic energy source, further enhancing our energy security and helping us with our continued transition to a lower-carbon economy," Perry said in an emailed statement reported by Reuters.
Northern England contains enough shale for 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the British Geological Survey found, according to Reuters. Just 10 percent of that could satisfy England's energy needs for 40 years.
But fracking opponents worry about the practice's impact on groundwater and contribution to climate change.
"The evidence of the damaging environmental, climate and health implications of fracking continues to mount, yet this government is determined to push it through, and the people of Lancashire are going to bear the brunt of it," Foster told The Independent.
Cuadrilla, on the other hand, pitched fracking as a climate win.
"The UK's need for a new and reliable source of natural gas, the cleanest fossil fuel, is underlined by a new report suggesting the UK is going to have to rely on more coal to generate electricity," it said in a statement posted on its website, The Independent reported.
The decision comes as the country prepares to celebrate Green Great Britain Week next month, which Perry will promote, Foster pointed out. "It's totally hypocritical," she said.
Fracking is still banned or on hold in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.