Letter submitted to the FT today:
I was intrigued to read in your weekend article ("Fracking industry looks to Pennsylvania for guidance," Financial Times, June 13/14,) that Cuadrilla, the gas drilling company promoting the exploitation of the Lancashire shale gas field has cited rural Pennsylvania in the US, home to America’s “fracking” revolution, as a model for Lancashire.
Now local Lancashire CC planning officers have given the green light to one of two pending applications to drill, from Cuadrilla (“Lancashire planners give go-ahead to Cuadrilla fracking plan, “ 16 June), the elected council members charged with endorsing planning permission should examine just what has happened in the model US state Cuadrilla cite.
An article in the Washington Post on 10 April this year (“Rise of deadly radon gas in Pennsylvania buildings linked to fracking industry,” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2015/04/09/rise-of-deadly-radon-gas-in-pennsylvania-buildings-linked-to-fracking-industry/) it reported a new study in the journal Environmental Health Perspective that revealed Downloada “disturbing correlation” between unusually high levels of radon gas in mostly residences and fracking that has become the industry standard over the past decade.
The searchers found that in the same areas of the state of Pennsylvania as the fracking operations generally showed higher readings of radon, with about 42% of the readings higher than what is considered safe by federal standards. Moreover, the researchers discovered that radon levels spiked overall in 2004, at about the same time fracking activity began to pick up.
Moreover, just last week, a federal investigation into links between fracking and drinking water contamination in Bradford and Susquehanna Counties in Pennsylvania found some private water wells had been damaged by methane and ethane migration caused by nearby fracking. (“Pennsylvania case studies mirror EPA’s national fracking report, “State IMPACT NPR, 11 June, http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2015/06/11/pennsylvania-case-studies-mirror-epas-national-fracking-report/)
I think the councillors need to make sure they are appraised of these studies before making their final fracking decision.