On Friday 1st February, I took the opportunity to attend a Cuadrilla Public Relations event held in
the reception area of a Caravan Park located on the fringes of Blackpool. The purpose of the event was to convince the residents of the Fylde peninsula that they had nothing to fear from Cuadrilla's presence in the area, despite having previously acknowledged that it was "highly probable" that Cuadrilla's drilling and fracking activities were responsible for triggering two earth tremors in 2011.
The location was not exactly central and required a �7 Taxi ride from Blackpool South train station, on top of the �120 train fare from the Soutwest. However, having committed to undertake a nationwide tour presenting and sharing FACTS accumulated during my own oilfield career and from the experiences of residents living above the gas fields of North America and Australia, I decided that I should at least take the opportunity to speak with the Senior Managers of Cuadrilla.
For the first forty five minutes I hovered on the fringes of the small groups clustered around various Cuadrilla managers waxing lyrical on the inherent safety of the fracking process and the potential economic miracle about to be unleashed upon the local community. I finally chipped in when I heard Mark Miller
, former Chief Executive of Cuadrilla, respond to the concerns of a resident by exclaiming, "... there has never been a proven case of frack fluid contaminating ground water."
I knew this to be patently false, with one case
being reported as recently as December 2012. I interjected but Miller continued to brazenly insist upon the veracity of his statement. I also pointed out that in 2005 Dick Cheney (CEO of Halliburton prior to taking the role of GWB's vice-president) had instructed Congress to exempt fracking
from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water
Act! When Miller retorted, "That's just not true."
I declared my oilfield background and suggested that Miller was guilty of presenting the same platitudes as I had been guilty of doing when I was working with Dowell Schlumberger in the US in the mid-90's! This got Miller's attention, primarily because he had also worked for Dowell Schlumberger prior to setting up his own Company in 1986. I asked Miller if he believed that there was any risk of soil, water ot air contamination from the fracking process, to which he responded that, "There's always an element of risk." He then went on to casually assure another local resident that Cuadrilla would, "... make good any damage to property, proven to have been caused by our drilling or fracking activity."
At this point I walked away, shocked but not surprised at the degree of cognitive dissonance. However, I also understand the attraction of rampant careerism, the associated investment in consumerist materialism and its power to create a worldview that elects to ignore and dismiss anything that might cause one to reflect upon their personal integrity in upholding corporate dogma.
|Shale Gas (in Red)|
With 60% of the UK sitting above Shale Gas
deposits, this is an issue of 'national significance' ... but not in the way the British Government claims. The propaganda to promote the 'Dash for Gas' is already well underway but if the media campaign fails to quell the opposition, the Growth and Infrastructure Bill
, currently going through the House of Lords, could allow exploration for shale gas to be considered as of "national significance"
, meaning the Government can override local authorities to grant planning permission.
With the potential gas valued at �360 Billion in the Bowland Shale
deposits alone, the corporations smell profit, the Cuadrilla management team smell bonuses and stock options, whilst the British government craves the tax revenue ... all with apparent disregard for the impact upon the residents
The first FRACKtured FUTURE
event in St. Annes attracted 140 people. Three local anti-FRACK groups were represented; one of which had a table in the foyer to promote their activities. Had the other two made contact, I would have afforded them the same opportunity.
The experiences of people living above the gasfields in the USA, Canada & Australia cannot and must not be ignored. Failure to do so may result in condemning future generations to live of absolute abject misery. It is imperative that the FACTS are shared on as wide a basis as possible and this is the sole purpose of the fifty five 'FRACKtured Future' events I will be hosting around the UK and Ireland over the next five months.
The Pope may have resigned, the Vatican may be about to elect the final pontiff (Petras Romanus), the US$ and the Euro may be on the brink of collapse, the US and Israel may be about to launch an attack on Iran, Italy may be about to have a coalition goverment led by a Comedian and a sexually hyper-active septegenarian, the Bulgarian government may have resigned but here in the UK .....
Our Children's Future is in OUR Hands
or by phone: 0207 558 8869