Just read the double page article from today's Mail on Sunday to see what the UK could be doing if we had a government that was brave enough to face down the eco zealots who want to take us back to the dark ages.
As Britain's shale gas lies untapped, a US state shows how fracking is thriving with nature | Daily Mail Online
"There have not been any fracking-related health problems (despite opponents claiming a link between the extraction process and rare cancers among children). Nor has noise — generally from the fracking equipment rather than road traffic — been an issue, he adds.
Mr Coolidge (a local farmer and politician) concedes there had been ‘rare’ occurrences early on of fracking waste-water spilling next to wells, but adds that this hadn’t happened in years.
As for allegations that drinking water from wells near fracking sites had been tainted, he stresses that subsequent official testing had established no link to fracking.
Mr Coolidge blames ‘people looking to make money’ for the contaminated-water allegations, noting that on two occasions, the complainants continued to have gas wells on their property ‘so I guess it wasn’t too bad for them’.
On a country-wide level, myriad studies about the environmental effects of fracking have often contradicted each other.
However, two academic studies in 2018 found fracking in Pennsylvania was not contaminating groundwater.
Mr Coolidge admits that sometimes it’s necessary to play hardball with the energy industry. He urged anyone regulating fracking in the UK to consult Pennsylvania’s current strict environmental guidelines.
Fines running into millions of dollars for breaches had been crucial, he says, in keeping energy companies compliant.
Pennsylvania bans fracking within 500ft of any residential property. In 2015, the state required shale gas companies to publish online all details of the chemicals — typically amounting to just 0.5 per cent of the mixture — they use in the fracking liquid pumped down each well.
The industry emphasises most of the chemicals can be found in any home, including salt, acids used in swimming pool cleaners, disinfectant, hydrochloric acid and citric acid.
Another important consideration, says Mr Coolidge, is that the upheaval caused by the actual drilling and the fracking process is only temporary.
According to Rob Boulware, a spokesman for Seneca Resources, which has drilled 1,300 gas wells in the state and is now the main energy company in Tioga County, it takes about 25 days to drill each well and another 17 days to frack it. (A typical pad contains eight wells.)
After that, the wells will produce gas for at least another 30 years. Eventually the site will be restored as closely as possible to what it looked like beforehand.
‘Done properly, there’s no reason British people shouldn’t embrace fracking and care for themselves,’ says Mr Coolidge.
People in the fracking industry agree. ‘It’s a highly regulated industry — there are strict guidelines for every phase of the operations,’ says Seneca’s Mr Boulware.
‘We need an honest conversation about natural gas and hydrocarbons, and the fact that renewable energy needs something to back it up. But right now, we’re a convenient industry to blame a lot of stuff on."’