The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
UK Government Says Never Mind What People Want, Let's Frack
Following a nearly three-month public comment period in which more than 90 percent of the comments were opposed, the UK government announced it will go ahead with a plan to allow fracking beneath homes without the owners' permission. Current rules allow homeowners to block shale gas projects. The government says the legal process to force them to allow them so is too time-consuming and expensive.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
The Guardian of London reported that of the 40, 647 responses received, 99 percent opposed the plan. Removing 28,821 responses submitted by two environmental group campaigns, 92 percent opposed it.
"The majority of respondents included campaign text opposing hydraulic fracturing and/or the proposed change to underground access legislation and did not specifically address the questions to the consultation," the government website said. "We acknowledge the large number of responses against the proposal and the fact that the proposal has provided an opportunity for the public to voice their concerns and raise issues. However the role of the consultation was to seek arguments and evidence to consider in developing the proposed policy. Whilst a wide range of arguments were raised and points covered, we did not identify any issues that persuaded us to change the basic form of the proposals."
So they didn't.
A statement from the government yesterday titled "Government to remove barriers to onshore oil and gas and deep geothermal exploration" touted the country's investment in renewables before saying, "We know that our journey towards a low carbon future will take time and that emerging energy industries often need government support to get going. That’s why, alongside a further £40 billion of renewable investment running into 2020, we are exploring for shale gas. As the cleanest fossil fuel, gas provides a bridge to much greener future, and geothermal energy can supply renewable heat to our homes and businesses."
“Exploring the natural energy resources beneath our feet, within a robust regulatory framework, is important for our national energy security and helps create jobs," said Business and Energy Minister Matt Hancock." These new rules will help Britain to explore the great potential of our national shale gas and geothermal resources, as we work towards a greener future—and open up thousands of new jobs in doing so.”
The Guardian reported, "New laws will now be passed giving automatic access for gas and oil development below 300m and a notification and compensation scheme will be run by the industry on a voluntary basis."
Industry trade group UK Onshore Oil & Gas hailed the decision, saying, "This amendment will help pave the way for the UK to develop natural gas from shale for the benefit of households and businesses across the country. The current system involves significant potential delays and costs without benefit either to the oil and gas industry or the landowner" and promising "“The onshore oil and gas industry is committed to working with local communities and operates within a regulatory system considered one of the best in the world. We have also brought forward proposals to share the benefits of shale gas exploration with local communities.”
Needless to say, environmental groups disagreed.
“With 99 percent of the respondents opposing the government’s plans to allow fracking under people’s homes without their permission, it is clear that this was a sham consultation," said Jane Thomas, senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth, one of the groups organizing the opposition campaign. “This government seems hellbent on fracking irrespective of widespread opposition. You’d think with a general election approaching politicians would listen to public opinion and get behind the popular energy solutions of cutting waste and backing renewables."
Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing also spoke out in opposition to the new regulations.
"UK government proposals to remove the right of Scottish householders to object to drilling under their homes, without so much as debate in the Scottish Parliament, flies in the face of Scotland's cautious, considered and evidence based approach on this issue. It is also fundamentally an issue affecting land ownership rights," he said.
In January, the UK government eliminated a requirement that energy companies inform individual homeowners of future fracking operations under their homes, also in the face overwhelming public opposition.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
It seems the reality of the climate crisis is too much for the Federal Reserve to ignore anymore.
For 21 years, Doug Distaso served his country in the United States Air Force.
He commanded joint aviation, maintenance, and support personnel globally and served as a primary legislative affairs lead for two U.S. Special Operations Command leaders.
But after an Air Force plane accident left him with a traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain, Distaso was placed on more than a dozen prescription medications by doctors at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
By Bailey Hopp
If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.
The scourge of plastic waste that washes up on once-pristine beaches and finds its way into the middle of the ocean often starts on land, is dumped in rivers and canals, and gets carried out to sea. At the current rate, marine plastic is predicted to outweigh all the fish in the seas by 2050, according to Silicon Canals.
By Julia Conley
Joined by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Friday night, Sen. Bernie Sanders held the largest rally of any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to date in Iowa, drawing more than 2,400 people to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.