Thursday 13 November 2014

Oxford Anti-Fracking Meeting

Following the demonstration outside the discussion at Oxfordshire County Council last week, see:, a meeting was organized by Oxford Friends of the Earth or "foe" as it is known to its members colloquially. This took place on Wednesday the 12th of November 2014 at the Friends Meeting House on St Giles, one of the world's oldest Quaker centres; I've discussed the Quakers before, see: The event was called Fracking and its Alternatives and the speaker was Brenda Pollack, a slim and softly-spoken young woman who is the southeast regional campaigner for Friends of the Earth, see: About thirty people showed up, which is not bad considering there has been almost no media attention paid to the fracking issue so far and no formal plans to frack in Oxfordshire have been announced. We know that the council discussed it and that the chairman at the meeting told us what he gathered sitting in the public gallery in the council chamber. Luckily most councillors are currently against fracking. The Labour and Liberal Democrat members were strongly opposed to it, as of course were the Green Party, which are highly successful in Oxford. The Conservatives were split; predictably when house-prices were brought to the table, the Tories balked. However this was not a formal debate and there was no vote; it was just a preliminary discussion. Nevertheless it turns out that central government have issued applications for PEDL's (pronounced "pedals")- Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences, to several fracking companies. The bids had to be in by the 28th of October and nothing has been published since. Three quarters of England and ten percent of Wales are currently up for grabs; this includes a vast swathe of northern Oxfordshire between the towns of Kidlington and Bunbury, and part of south Oxfordshire around Abingdon and the Vale of the White Horse. The subject of property rights on the subterranean world came up, and this is a vital point. The split estate laws in Australia have allowed fracking companies to do whatever they want underneath anybody's land so long as they can find a little patch big enough for a nearby drilling rig. In the UK the legal situation is luckily different, see: There's good news here because the people in Balcombe, where the first major fracking protest erupted, are now working with Friends of the Earth to make the town a renewable heartland. People power can beat this, says Brenda and I agree.

The David Cameron Government plc is currently going full speed ahead for shale extraction, seeing it as our future and the answer to all our energy problems. Brenda addressed each of the pro-fracking lobby's arguments one at a time and debunked them. We don't need fracking, it's that simple. Brenda says that renewable energy sources like wind, solar, wave and tidal can produce enough energy for all our needs. My own view is that even those methods are obsolete if the truth ever comes out about Tesla technology and the Hutchison Effect etc, see: What's more fracking will not cut our energy bills. At the moment the government is making a big deal about how Britain is dependent on coal and gas imports from abroad which cost the consumer more, and that domestic fracking will free us all up. Cameron is portraying it as a new North Sea oil boom. This is false. Firstly there's far less shale gas available than the prospectors claim, as Ian R Crane and Richard D Hall have both explained, see here at 3.40: Also Deutschebank has exposed this and explained how there are still massive debts connected to the existing experimental rigs in the UK. Another myth is that fracking will cut Carbon™ emissions because it's more efficient than coal. As you know, I don't go along with the idea of man-made climate change at all; but even if I did, fracking will not reduce those emissions. The government claims it's a "bridging fuel" to cover our needs until the renewable infrastructure is developed, but Brenda thinks this is a lie. Fracking is not intended to replace coal at all. The coal we use will just be exported elsewhere; this is what has happened in the USA. Brenda is also concerned about methane leaking from the fracking wells and she believes methane is also harmful to the climate, and it's even worse than CO2. The concern is that fracking is displacing renewables instead of coal. FOE has allies in government, like John Ashton MP who has fought against fracking in Parliament. Brenda then said something extremely interesting, probably more interesting than she realizes: "UK energy policy is focused on the maximum use of minerals for economic reasons." This, in a nutshell, is why there is a cover-up of Tesla technology and all other kinds of free energy, see link above to my BUFOG lecture. What applies to those technologies applies in a different form on a more conventional level to fracking and the government's opposition to wind and solar power etc. Fracking is not safe; in fact there have been blowouts at fracking plants that have destroyed lorries. How long will it be before somebody dies? Noise from the drilling is very loud at Balcombe and on the Fylde Peninsula. The impacts on the environment in the USA and Australia, where the fracking agenda is very advanced, prove that. Brenda sees the real solution as using renewables and increasing efficiency, loft insulation, thriftier car engines and better wiring etc. Ian R Crane thinks fracking should be continued, but moved offshore; I think an entire revolution in energy production is needed. My own solutions are the ones I talked about at BUFOG. I'm very glad I attended this meeting. I've not had the means to travel to Balcombe and Barton Moss to join Ian R Crane and the others in taking on the "motherfrackers" face-to-face; but now fracking has come to my own backyard and I'm in a perfect position to take action myself.


Dominique said...

Thank you so much for this blog. I will share it on facebook.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

You're welcome. Thank you too, Dominique.