CWaC Working Group Meeting 1 Regulatory Background : Questions for Panel 29-09-14

By March 4, 2015 News No Comments

DECC

  1. In 2012 Charles Hendry, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, said in a statement that they “would not authorize the use of any hazardous chemical substances for the hydraulic fracturing process” – Does that regulatory stance still stand?
  2. Documents show that Lord Browne personally intervened on a reported “argument” between fracking company Cuadrilla and the Environment Agency over whether “tough regulations on environmental waste should be applied to its operations”.  How can we trust the Government on fracking regulations when there are clear conflicts of interest?

  3. The National Farmers’ Union are concerned “that long-term responsibilities (for compensation, restoration and aftercare of sites) may be “reassigned, possibly defaulting to the landowner” and the Angler’s Trust states that “the current system is simply not fit for purpose and it would be irresponsible to allow fracking to proceed until effective controls are in place”. How will you ensure fracking companies have responsibility for compensation in the event of environmental or economic damage?

  4. Given that methane is 86% more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2, why does the Government persist in referring to shale gas as a greener fuel when it is nothing of the sort?

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

  1. Drilling companies state that there are only 4 chemicals in their fracking fluid and that they are not hazardous. Aside from the fact that biocides and hydrochloric acid are indeed hazardous, how can we be sure that they wouldn’t add further chemicals once production was underway to increase productivity of a well? How many gallons of chemicals would be used in a commercial frack?
  2. What is the likely effect on public health including the very young, elderly and infirm – and as the industry and these agencies currently fail to regulate existing petrochemical installations safely, how can we expect them to regulate these new and more uncertain works any better?
  3. When farmers’ bore holes are contaminated, will the toxins and heavy metals get into the food chain? Who will take responsibility for this?
  4. As the credibility of risk assessments is such a contentious issue, would it be possible to require full description, testing and proof of proposed mitigation methods, and the description of residual risk expressed in percentage terms?
  5. How many incidents of higher that permissible emissions from petro chemical works have occurred in the Borough in each the last 3 years?

COUNCIL

  1. Given the potential adverse impacts of CBM on the environment, why was an Environmental Impact Assessment not considered necessary for the planning approval of CBM extraction in 2010? (don’t mention Ellesmere Port)
  2. Is it the Council’s intention within the regulatory framework to prioritise the health and safety of the people of CWaC above all other considerations?
  3. Is the evidence submitted to this working group going to be made available to the public and if so, how and when?
  4. Does the council understand what quantities of fresh water will be required for fracking and how will they ensure that it will not reduce the supply of fresh water required for the local population and industry?

OTHER/ ALL

  1. Whose responsibility is it to protect our homes, our health and our environment?
  2. Articles in the Medical Journal and the Lancet suggest serious dangers to the health of the public – not to mention all the evidence we have submitted?  Can you prove it is safe?
  3. Will we be notified if drilling is to take place under our homes?
  4. How will the huge increase in HGV traffic affect our road safety targets?

HSE

  1. The agenda reports describe you as being responsible for regulating well design and well integrity. Apart from the issued raised over split responsibilities what expertise and skills do your organisation possess to ensure that these responsibilities are discharged effectively and can you confirm if your responsibility extends beyond human health and safety?