Letter: Is fracking worth it?

The Coalition government has announced that there’s huge quantities of shale gas in Yorkshire and Lancashire, and it needs to be fracked. So are there any dangers?

I watched the programme on 20 June BBC 2 about fracking and some very disturbing facts came out :-

A fracking operation needs 8 million gallons of water to complete the exercise, and 40,000 gallons of chemicals are needed for each fracture. A gas well requires 400 tanker trucks to carry water and diesel fuel to the site, and it can be fracked 18 times, so in its lifetime each well will use 144 million gallons of water.

The water is mixed with sand and chemicals thereby creating gallons of fracking fluid for each site.

Up to 600 chemicals are injected into the mixture and many of these are known carcinogens and toxins.

Extremely toxic substances such as lead, and benzene, along with 29 other carcinogens and toxins are used in the process. These are extremely hazardous to public health especially in drinking water. Other chemicals which are hazardous air pollutants, are also added. In the United States the hydraulic fracturing companies “injected 11.4 million gallons of products containing at least one carcinogen over a five year period.” Methanol is a hazardous air pollutant and is widely used in fracking.

Many other hydraulic fracturing fluids contain chemical components we know nothing about - as the fracking companies list these as “proprietary” or a “trade secret,” therefore nobody knows what danger these are causing to public health.

In the fracking process methane gas and toxic chemicals leach out from the system and contaminate ground water, and this can get into rivers and streams.

In the United States 1,000 cases of water contamination near fracking wells have been documented, and there have been cases of sensory, respiratory, and neurological damage due to ingested contaminated water. Between 50 per cent and 70 per cent of this lethal mixture is left in the ground to leach into drinking water.

Waste fluid is left in open pits to evaporate thereby releasing harmful and volatile, organic compounds which create acid rain and ground level ozone.

Hydraulic fracking will produce natural gas. But is it worth the Tory and Lib Dem government putting the future health of millions of Yorkshire and Lancashire people in jeopardy? I say its not.

Dave Coates

Barnsley Road