An energetic rebuttal of claims for the benefits of fracking

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From: David Burley, Amorys Holt Road, Maltby, Rotherham.

I READ with varying amusement and concern the letter from Michael A Clynch of Sheffield (Yorkshire Post, February 7). If I may, I would like to respond point by point.

“America is the most litigious country in the world yet has embraced fracking with no significant legal or environmental problems...”

Are we surprised? Fracking is exempt from seven key US laws including the clean air and clean water acts. Also energy companies have settled out of court.

“...And now enjoys a bonanza in low cost, secure, independent and clean energy.”

Shale gas is cheap in the US because supply has exceeded demand, mainly because it could not be exported. That is to change: prices will therefore rocket and it will no longer be a secure supply. And methane is not clean – it is a fossil fuel and, when burnt, throws greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

“We have the most regulated country in the world from the Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive, local authority planning systems and government scrutiny of foreign investment projects.”

The Environment Agency is committed to putting more resources into flood defences to combat extreme weather caused and promulgated by climate change (which is driven by burning fossil fuels, by the way) while having to shed 15 per cent of its workforce.

The Agency admits that the fracking industry will, therefore, have to be self-regulating. Oh dear. And in terms of planning consents our Government has rewritten the rules to make it impossible to consider any alternatives to oil and gas. Crazy.

“The North of England for years had deep mining of coal reserves extending miles into built-up areas with massive waste tips and risk of serious subsidence in properties. It was also the most dangerous job environment for workers.”

I agree with Mr Clynch; let’s not have coal either.

“However, the benefit to working communities in job terms and secure energy that mining provided drowned out the so-called Green Party activists who were regarded as crackpots.”

The Government’s report in December clearly demonstrates that many jobs will go to workers from overseas. Also, pound for pound, renewable energy produces more jobs than fossil fuels. And it is cleaner.