Can’t Roger Helmer see what’s coming with his beloved shale gas/fracking? A lot of very sick people.
TAP – Roger Helmer MEP’s getting a lot of stuff on his blog from anti-frackers. He’s gone from saying only a month ago there is no case yet proven of any aquifer in the world being contaminated by gas extraction, to saying that the risks are present, but are not enough to make it worth stopping the dash for gas.
It’s progress of a kind that he’s able to come down from his gas is totally pure former position. Yet when you see that he’s been visiting US gas fields, being shown around by US gas extraction companies, to help him form his views, you do wonder whether he realises he’s been told only a fraction of the fracking story.
What, Roger, for example, is happening to The Great Lakes? Where’s all the water going?
The answer is the water’s being taken to feed fracking wells.
Why is California in water crisis? Because, Roger, of the drought yes, but also because all the underground water is now contaminated by fracking and is unuseable.
Same goes for Texas where water is now shipped in from outside and sold to farmers whose lands have been fracked and the water made poisonous.
Until you realise that shale gas/fracking is more about water than it is about gas, you haven’t even started to get the full horror of what’s being done to Mother Earth, and humanity. Which is why Helmer preferred the total denial he was in until recently, to having to properly weigh up the risks of what he is proposing. His article below shows he’s already decided that there is no need for precaution, but for what he grandly calls proportionality. I would suggest you need both precaution and proportionality at all times, but first of all, to ensure that not all your information is coming to you from interested parties. Only then can you even get to the point of being able to form a properly thought through opinion of any kind.
Then there’s the votes. People are able to find out about the reality of fracking by looking to see for themselves. The Green Party surge is continuing on the back of the dash for gas, GMOs and other poisons such as neonicotinoids killing bees. UKIP is stuck under 20% of the vote where it can’t do much good, and might well ensure we get a Labour government in 2015. If UKIP had the intelligence to realise that there is not one form of suppression as embodied by the EU, but several other heads, which include environmental and health destruction, from programmes such as fracking, and GMOs (Hasn’t Roger ever heard of glyphosate?), then UKIP could also be gaining from the green surge in Britain, and not be locked into exactly the same policies as the Conservatives, and be unable to get to the critical 30% or 40% of the voting public. The focus on immigration won’t be enough to bring anything like enough seats.
Roger Helmer is recently ex-Conservative, and clearly is being fed his lines from the same old corporations as control Owen Paterson – Monsanto, BP, Cargill – the full panoply of Satanists. No wonder his views are so hopelessly out of touch with reality, and so dangerous to the people of Britain. For what it’s worth, here is the Helmer essay, which we all can agree gets nought out of twenty – FAIL.
If he wasn’t UKIP’s energy spokesman, I really wouldn’t bother even reading such drivel. Surely UKIP can do better.
Suppose I offered you a product that contained 66 chemicals, most with slightly sinister and technical names like “Ethyl-3-methylbutanoate”. Suppose I added that these 68 chemicals included twenty-nine that were classified as hazardous; one as toxic; five damaging to health and four damaging to the environment. And suppose I then invited you to eat it? Would you do so? I suspect not.
Suppose I explained that the product in question was a natural, organic blueberry – widely regarded as a health-food that offers some degree of protection against cardiovascular risk factors? Would you think differently about it? When was the last time you ate a blueberry?
And much the same analysis could be given for a wide range of food-stuffs, not least coffee and tea. We need to understand not only whether a substance is potentially toxic, but also whether there is any significant prospect of the amounts concerned having any damaging effect.
During my first term in the European parliament, the Chairman of the Environment Committee was Tory MP Caroline Jackson. I disagreed with her on many things, but I loved her sharp wit and iconoclastic style. The European institutions love the Precautionary Principle, which says (I paraphrase) that if anything might potentially be dangerous, we should ban it until we can be sure it’s safe. Caroline famously remarked that on the basis of the Precautionary Principle, we should ban two-storey houses in the EU. Statistics show (she said) that a thousand people a year in Europe die from falling down stairs. We can eliminate that risk by living in bungalows.
That illustrates why I believe we should replace the Precautionary Principle with what I call the Proportionality Principle. That is, we should avoid products or activities where the risk of harm is disproportionate to the benefit. Often we are aware of significant risks, but we accept those risks in exchange for the benefits offered by the activity. For example, several thousand people sadly die each year on our roads. But we don’t ban cars, and most of us use them. The advantages of personal mobility are out of all proportion to the relatively small risk of accident or injury.
There is a growing body of evidence that use of mobile phones can cause brain damage. Yet most of us shrug off that risk in exchange for the enormous convenience offered by our mobiles. On the other hand, we seem to be getting less and less tolerant of any conceivable risk that we think we can avoid altogether without inconvenience – like shale gas, or GM crops.
This creates, however, a problem for public policy. It is all too easy for lobby groups or irresponsible media to whip up massive scare stories about risks which are very small indeed. We all remember the “Millennium Bug”, or Y2K, as we used to know it. A huge scare over what proved to be a non-event. Many millions wasted by companies “future-proofing” their systems.
Similarly, we have the fear of shale gas. Concerned residents blocking drilling sites and waving placards. Yet I have been twice to the USA to see shale gas operations first hand, and I found local residents who were delighted with the industrial renaissance, the jobs re-shored, the jobs created in drilling areas, the new businesses springing up, the increase in property prices as growth attracted in-comers. What I did not find was people campaigning against the new wealth.
This is perhaps reminiscent of the nuclear debate, where again and again we find that people living near to nuclear sites, and seeing the economic benefits, are far more positive about nuclear energy than those living further away. But perhaps the better parallel is with coal. Hundreds of thousands died within the coal industry, and on some estimates millions outside died of respiratory conditions as a result of pollution from coal (as indeed they are in China today). Coal mining with its pit-heads and slag heaps created devastation on the landscape (and bigger earth tremors than fracking). Yet we still look back to mine closures with regret.
(Caveat: We in UKIP support coal, which is now very much cleaner and safer than it once was).
When we’re offered a new energy extraction technology, shale gas, which is overwhelmingly safer and cleaner than coal, and offers vast commercial and economic benefits, we should be welcoming it with open arms, not campaigning against it.
Another example of irrational fear is that of GM foods. We have been eating them for decades with no recorded case of harm, yet they arouse fierce negative emotions. At least the Luddites who attacked mechanical looms with sledgehammers in the early 1800s had a credible (if mistaken) argument for their actions. Opponents of GM have none. It’s time to learn to weigh up risks and benefits, and to make decisions which are proportionate, not precautionary.