Fracking report too quick to dismiss earthquake dangers
Commenting on a new study from Durham University about fracking induced earthquakes Friends of the Earth Scotland Campaigns Co-ordinator Mary Church said:
“Durham University’s research is surprisingly blasé about the risks posed by the low magnitude earth tremors that we know fracking can induce. While a quake measuring 2 on the Richter scale might not be felt by most people it can cause serious damage to the gas well and increases the risk of toxic chemicals and methane leaking into the atmosphere and water environment.
“It is by no means clear that the seismic risks of fracking are limited to minor quakes. Scientists in the USA have linked a earthquake in Oklahoma measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, which injured 2 people and destroyed 14 homes, to processes similar to those used in fracking for gas.”
“Unconventional gas extraction and fracking is linked to very serious local environmental and health problems in countries such as Australia and the USA where the industry is more developed.
“Scotland has plentiful renewable resources and tough climate targets, the last thing we need is to go after yet more fossil fuels.”
Notes to Editors
1. Researchers from University of Oklahoma, Columbia University and the US Geological Survey found that wastewater (from nearby conventional oil wells) injected into the rocks for disposal was the likely cause of the earthquake, and point to the consequences for the unconventional gas industry which relies on injection of fluid into rocks as part of the hydraulic fracturing process. See Keranan et al, 2013 http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/early/2013/03/26/G34045.1.abstract?ci…
2. The US Geological Survey have linked a significant increase in seismic activity in central USA to the injection of wastewater into rocks: between 1970-2000 there were an average of 21 earthquakes a year; this increased to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011. http://www2.seismosoc.org/FMPro?-db=Abstract_Submission_12&-sortfield=Pr…
3. A 2011 report commissioned by Caudrilla following earth tremors measuring 1.5 and 2.3 on the Richter scale at their shale site in Bowland, Lancashire confirmed that fracking was the likely cause. http://www.cuadrillaresources.com/about-us/communication-claims-support/…
5. Friends of the Earth Scotland is
* Scotland’s leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups – covering every continent. www.foe-scotland.org.uk