Fracking is people and planet unfriendly

SIR, - So ‘fracking’ is starting in Scotland! I am horrified and never thought that this technique would follow McDonalds from the United States to Scotland.

At least McDonalds has begun to offer more healthy options on its menu and to make itself more environmentally friendly.

‘Fracking’ is a most people and planet unfriendly process. Fracking is hydraulic fracturing of rock under us to recover gas and oil.

In ‘fracking’ a mixture of sand, water and chemicals is pumped under high pressure deep underground to create small cracks in the rock. The sand keeps the fractures open and trapped gas escapes and is collected. The problem is that it is not all collected but leaks elsewhere.

The practice of hydraulic fracturing has come under scrutiny due to concerns about environmental and health safety. On a US website http://earthjustice.org is a record of some of the incidents. Another US website at http://nofracking.com gives links to newspaper articles.

The incidents are called ‘fraccidents’ and there are details of the effects on farm animals and people. There is also a video on ‘youtube’ titled ‘My Water’s On Fire Tonight’. If you are puzzled by the title the video shows tap water being set on fire as it comes out of the tap!

From Alberta, Canada, comes this story. Jessica Ernst, a biologist and environmental consultant to the oil and gas industry, says EnCana, Canada’s second biggest energy company, “told us ‘we would never fracture near your water.’ The company fracked into our aquifer in that same year (2004).” By 2005, she says, “My water began dramatically changing, going bad. I was getting horrible burns and rashes from taking a shower, and then my dogs refused to drink the water. That’s when I began to pay attention.” At least 15 water-wells had gone bad in her little community.

In a study requested by the European Parliament’s Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety earlier this year, scientists conclude that “at a time when sustainability is key to future operations it can be questioned whether the injection of toxic chemicals in the underground should be allowed, or whether it should be banned as such a practice would restrict or exclude any later use of the contaminated layer... and as long-term effects are not investigated.”

The French Parliament at about the time of the release of the EU study voted to ban fracking.

So who is starting this in Scotland? Why a company called Greenpark Energy with a base just over the border in Berwick! However it is registered at Companies House as having headquarters in London and as a Private Limited Company. The names I have seen do not readily suggest they are all UK residents.

JOHN ELLIOT,

Duns.