Friday, 12 July 2013

Lac-Mégantic inferno was caused by a rail shipment of shale oil - Who needs fracking in the UK (or Anywhere)?

Dear comrades it would be excellent if you could send these round your lists urgently . thanks terry conway

Saturday's terrifying Lac-Mégantic inferno was caused by a rail shipment of shale oil - a particularly volatile fuel. A criminal enquiry is now underway into the operations of the industry responsible.

Shale oil is what Cuadrilla say they want to prospect for in Balcombe.
If the Environment Agency grant them the remaining necessary permits and they find sufficient recoverable reserves to exploit, how will this hydraulic fracturing company - which has already proven itself untrustworthy and technically inept* - transport the shale oil they extract? Will they drive it in tankers up the M23 and around the M25? Will they put it on our railways - or will they seek further to violate our subterranean geology and industrialise our landscape with a network of dangerous pipelines? It simply does not bear thinking about.

Frack Free Sussex

"This is what shale oil does when ignited. Shale oil is a more explosive liquid than regular oil and it is being transported by trains from the Bakken shale oil/gas fields of North Dakota to the East Coast of Canada."

Mark D'ArcyNew Brunswick. Commenting on the Lac-Mégantic disaster.

PLEASE ask EVERYONE YOU KNOW IN THE UK to take a few minutes to make a formal representation to the Environment Agency NOT to grant Cuadrilla a Mining Waste Permit (to dispose of toxic, radioactive frack effluent). This is not just about Sussex - it is a precedent that will affect future applications ACROSS THE COUNTRY! Please also think creatively about who else to ask to send a formal response - Water companies? Schools? Farms? Wildlife Trusts? Emergency services/first responders? National Parks.....?

The Balcombe bore is 100yds from the London to Brighton railway line (a mile from the Victorian Viaduct) and less than a mile from the village. It's ½ a mile from the River Ouse and ¾ of a mile from Ardingly Reservoir - both of which are drawn on for drinking water. There are endangered species (great crested newts, water voles, dormice and returning red kites) in this AONB. It is 2½ miles from the Millennium Seed Bank - an IRREPLACEABLE SUBTERRANEAN GLOBAL RESOURCE.

What could possibly go wrong?
Cuadrilla is an inept, manipulative and untrustworthy operation, with a 50% failure rate on its Lancashire wells. It triggered seismic activity, was censured by the ASA for dishonest representation to local residents, flouted regulations put in place to protect wildlife and received ministerial reprimand for continuing, covertly, to frack a damaged well.

Will our government give these cowboys further sanction to frack and potentially pollute our soil, air and aquifers; wasting vast volumes of our precious fresh drinking water in the process and threatening our seismic security - for nothing of material benefit beyond its shareholders' corporate gain?

Urgent - Guidance on responding before 16th July, to Cuadrilla's application to the EA for a Balcombe Mining Waste Permit.
July 6, 2013 at 10:56pm
PLEASE, for all our sakes, take a few moments to write to the Environment Agency after reading this briefing.
This specific proposed drill threatens the water supply and seismic security of a much wider area than Balcombe - and the Mining Waste permit application is a precedent that implicates the whole country.
It is very important that everyone responds with their concerns/questions about the impact of fracking on human health and wild ecology. This is the first time outside the original, quiet, planning application in 2010 - that the public has been consulted.
Please ask neighbours, local school, doctors, local businesses etc. to respond too. Enlist anyone you can think of to step up and speak up - lest this appalling, ecocidal industry gets its drills further into our subterranean geology and its poisons into our air, soil and water - for nothing more than its shareholders' financial gain.
The consultation closes on Tuesday 16th July.
You can respond through the EA website, by email, or by snail mail:

P&SC - EP Team,
Quadrant 2,
99 Parkway Avenue,
Sheffield S9 4WF

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This document is provided in good faith by NoFiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society) to guide you when making a response to the current consultation. You are of course free to say what you like when you respond.
Your own thoughts are most important, and your own words will make more impact.
What is a Mining Waste Permit?

It is a permit for the management of waste extracted (in our case) during prospecting for oil and gas. Cuadrilla have been obliged to apply to the Environment Agency (EA) for a Mining Waste Permit for their Balcombe site, this in addition to permits they had been granted previously. To issue the permit, the EA decide whether Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited have shown that the environment will be protected and human health will not be harmed. They are obliged to consult the public – hence the one month delay in drilling.
Why is it important I respond?
This is the first time outside the original planning application in 2010 that the public has been consulted. Therefore, whatever your concerns or questions about the waste, emissions and impact on health and the environment, it is really important that you respond. Please also ask your neighbours, local school, doctors and organisations to respond too.
How do I respond?
To view the permit documentation click the blue 'View and Comment' button.
- The 14 permit documents are downloadable from the left hand side.
- Comments already submitted can be seen via ‘View Comments.’

- You can add and submit your own questions and comments online via Add Comments or download the MS word response form from this webpage via the blue button 'Download File'

- Or post a letter to P&SC - EP Team, Quadrant 2, 99 Parkway Avenue, Sheffield S9 4WF.
When do I need to do it?

Please aim to have your responses sent by Monday 15th July latest. The consultation closes on Tuesday 16th.
Responding to the Consultation:
It is preferable when writing your comments that you phrase everything as a question not a general statement.
Alternatively, you could create a statement and then pose questions about it: How, Why, When, Where, What, Who?
This information is intended to help you formulate your own questions – a response in your own words will make a much stronger impact - and take more time for the EA to respond to - than someone else’s identical template.
The information is guidance only and is not really a substitute for reading through the 14 permit documents.
However if that is a bit daunting, and you don’t know where to start, what follows should be a good starting point!
Guidance on the areas you may wish to consider in your response:-
• Water - Groundwater, surface water, drilling through the aquifer, proximity to local gill streams which flow into the River Ouse and finally to Ardingly Reservoir. The site falls in a designated EA drinking water protected area. 

These are all at risk from contamination from the chemicals Cuadrilla will be using and the flowback fluid (the liquid effluent that comes back out of the well back to the surface). How will they be protected?
• Air Pollution - The new 13.7m flare is a very different proposition to the 1.6m ground flare for which Cuadrilla originally had planning permission, both in impact, scale, noise and light – How will human health be protected from these emissions?
How will the emissions be reported to the general public? The documentation says that flaring will happen for one week – what happens if it is more than this? Who is monitoring it?
• Ecology and Surroundings – The site falls in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Rare and protected species such as bats, water voles great crested newts and returning red kites - as well as rare lichens have been confirmed within 2km of the site. The site is bounded by ancient woodland, where the original environmental searches cited bats – how will these important fauna and flora be protected?
• Noise and Odour – Who will be ensuring that the noise levels do not exceed those set down in the planning conditions? What odour might there be?
• Regulation – Cuadrilla Balcombe will be hiring many subcontractors - who is permitting and controlling them?Will they be regulated and controlled by the permit?
How will the EA be monitoring the extractive waste and operations onsite to ensure that the environment and human health will not be harmed?
What happens when the planning approval and the mining waste documentation do not match?
What happens when a new planning application is submitted? Will the permit be transferred to the new application?
Who will ensure that there is enough time to complete operations before the drilling starts?
• Waste Cuttings and Fluids – the fluid that comes back out of the well is called flowback fluid. It is extractive waste controlled by the permit.
Where will that waste be stored? How long will it remain there? How will it be disposed of and transported? Where will it be transported to? How will it be treated? When will the resulting liquid be disposed of? What happens if there is a spill or an accident on the road?
How will the environment and human health be protected from this flowback fluid?
• Emergency Planning – worst case scenario: a spill, a blow-out?
What plans are in place for evacuation and safety of the residents of Balcombe? What emergency services are on standby, and given that the site is within 40m of a mainline trainline, what procedures will Network Rail follow?
If people smell odours from the site in the village what should they do?
• Aftercare - When the well has been abandoned, who will be monitoring it and for how long?

The Questions from the EA Consultation Response Form.
The EA documentation asks that in answering the questions you explain any information you consider to be inaccurate or untrue within the permit documentation.
Q1: Do you have any comments on Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited proposals to prevent or minimise emissions (including noise and odour) from the activity?
This question relates to anything that comes out of the well – air pollution, water contamination, waste cuttings and fluids and noise and odour.
See “areas you may wish to consider in your response” on page 1 for more details.
What is Cuadrilla doing to stop or limit these emissions? How are they doing it? Why would they prevent emissions and how can they? Who is monitoring and controlling and acting on the emissions data?
Where are those emissions held and where do they go?
Q2: Do you have any comments on Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited proposals to demonstrate that the activity will not cause harm to the environment?
This question relates to whether the surroundings of the site and our village will be damaged or hurt by what Cuadrilla will be doing. What are the consequences of exploration? This is not described in the permit documentation.
The site is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and that environment will be changed in the short term by the rig, flare and drilling. What will the long term effect of the emissions be? Where are the independent baseline tests to show the water and air composition at the site?
How do we know harm will not be caused?
Q3: Do you have any comments on Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited proposals to demonstrate that the activity will not cause harm to human health?
This question relates to soundness of body and mind – how will noise and odour, air pollution, regulation and emergency planning affect human health?
See “areas you may wish to consider in your response” on page 1 for more details.
What harm will be caused by these activities? What about stress and anxiety? Where is this addressed in the documentation?
Q4: Do you have any comments about any local factors, e.g. local sensitive environmental features, that Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited have not considered in the permit application which you believe we should take into account?
See “areas you may wish to consider in your response” on page 1 – Ecology and Surroundings section for more details.
Is the site within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? The Non-technical summary states “there are no Statutory designated habitat sites within the Environmental Permit application boundary and its immediate vicinity”.
Why was a bat survey not undertaken? How will the bats be protected from the constant pilot light of the flare which will be on throughout the operations? From July they will be feeding their young, in the autumn they will be mating.
A Lancashire resident who had Cuadrilla drilling nearby their home, said the lights made it "like living next to Cape Canaveral."
How has Cuadrilla fulfilled its obligations in an environmentally responsible manner as stated in their environmental policy detailed in the permit documentation:
“We will pursue this commitment by: Choosing well sites to minimise the impact on members of the local community, heritage, ecology and biodiversity?”

Q5: Do you have any comments on Cuadrilla Balcombe Limited proposals about the necessary measures that will be taken to prevent accidents and limit their consequences?
This question relates to what happens if there is an accident.
See “areas you may wish to consider in your response” on page 1 - Emergency Planning section for more details.
Spills, accidents, major catastrophes, cascade failures – where is the detail on these?
Have the local doctors, ambulance and fire stations been informed? Where is the documentation on this?
Contact if:
• You would like further information to any of the areas of concern listed above.
• You have the skills and time to create a one page summary to help other people.
• To find out about meetings, what you can do to help and for any questions or ideas you may have to stop drilling in Balcombe.
Balcombe Facebook: - No Fracking in Balcombe Society - NoFiBS(Closed Discussion group, Balcombe residents only)
Wider Sussex Facebook Page:

NoFiBS (No Fracking in Balcombe Society) is a group of village residents who have come together over concerns about unconventional gas and oil exploration in the area. Please note that no-one is pretending to be an expert. We all need to help each other respond to the threat of drilling and its associated activities as best as we can.

1 comment:

Alan Borgars said...

Who needs fracking anywhere? No-one, except greedy, rich, selfish capitalists with no regard for human life or dignity. The Con-Dems sadly are stepping up the game in this regard, with tax breaks for fracking and by proposing removing local authorities' right to scrutinise fracking-related planning decisions...