Fracking brings sickness and pollution to communities it impacts.
There is an angry buzz in the UK media and on WordPress at the moment, thanks to the first ever fracking operation in the UK at Balcombe. In the USA most people are veterans in the fracking debate, but this is a new experience in the UK, and a savage battle is now emerging that is captivating the British people, politician, and the shark-like UK media who enjoy a controversial fight.
Each side has their argument in the fracking debate, I argue based on prosperity. I have in recent days caught up on the details of fracking, enough to form an opinion that fracking is a bad idea when it comes to prosperity. Unfortunately fracking presents serious challenges that fail to offset the benefits of energy-security.
The UK has this offensive term for people who object to developments in their backyard, calling them nimbys, slang for “not in my back yard,” a dirty term against people who some argue should sacrifice their own community prosperity for the good of the nation, which often translates into sacrifice of community to boost the profit margins of foreign faceless corporates. I argue the nation State is the house, and the community is the bricks that make the house; no bricks, no house; community is everything. If a development is bad for the community then it is bad for the nation State.
I define prosperity as health, happiness and abundance. Yes, oil makes the world go round, but if the fracking process sacrifices the health of a community, how is this good?
Water is essential for life. USA has secured its energy security for a hundred years by finds of oil in States such as Texas. Texas is a state in a water crisis. Texas uses vast amounts of precious water to obtain the oil through fracking, which mostly in the process becomes too toxic to recycle. In addition the secret chemicals used in fracking and the toxins released by the process leak into existing water supplies. The oil-town of Barnhart in Texas could be amongst the first of communities to die, as they struggle with lack of water. Some communities in Texas are listed today with 45 days or less of water remaining.
The vast usage of water for fracking in Balcombe in the UK won’t threaten anyone with loss of water, but the chemicals used in the fracking process, the heavy metals and gasses released will leak into the water supply and soil. People can say goodbye to the ancient Chalybeate Spring in Balcombe which will become toxic to drink from. A study by the University of Texas in Arlington USA looked at a hundred wells used in fracking, some areas up to 3km from the well suffered pollution by higher than normal levels of arsenic and other heavy metals in the groundwater. A little known study by scientists in Germany found that 82% of samples at less than 1km from a fracking oil well had six times than normal levels of methane in the drinking water.
Any gases released by fracking in Balcombe will travel to the nearest exist, a fracture, pipe or source of water, and can disperse over a wide area polluting everything in its path, which includes radioactive radon gas and methane gas. Fortunately for the people of Balcombe radon is low there but methane gas may prove a challenge.
Most of the chemicals used and released by the fracking process in Balcombe will stay to haunt the local community and their descendents for generations. The toxic waste of the fracking process cannot be recycled, so someone is going to have to live with this waste in their community. Fracking won’t bring prosperity to the people of Balcombe, which will impact their health and pollute their local water. Neither the oil company or David Cameron the UK Prime Minister care about the people of Balcombe, for profit is their god, and the Balcombe community are irrelevant.