Anti-fracking campaigner says earthquake should serve as a warning

PUBLISHED: 11:53 22 May 2015 | UPDATED: 09:13 27 May 2015

Seismic  diagram

Seismic diagram


‘This is another warning’.

Anti fracking campaigners have said that today’s earthquake should serve as a warning against fracking in the county.

The hydraulic fracturing process- which involves injecting sand, chemicals and water at high pressure into a well to crack rock and release gas and oil- has been met with fierce opposition from campaign groups.

The disposal of the drilling waste water that is used during the process has been linked to earthquakes.

Green campaigner and former Thanet councillor Ian Driver said: “I think what happened this morning serves as a very serious warning about the dangers of fracking in Kent.

“There has been an established link between seismic activity and fracking.

“We have had two earthquakes in eight years, There is now a very strong argument that that fracking shouldn’t be allowed here because it could start even more.

“As far as I am aware in the ground in East Kent there are quite a few faults in the substrata in the geology and I have been to a couple of public meetings where that has been pointed out. The faults in the ground could be causing the seismic activity, and if they are going to be delving very, very deep down into faulty land to get the gas or the oil out there is a very serious danger of starting a lot more earthquakes.”

Julie Wassmer, of the East Kent Against Fracking group, agrees that fracking should not happen in the county.

She explained: “I think for us this is another warning of the fact that any kind of earthquake that could possibly take place in an area of already faulted geology and near to aquifers- a body of rock that can contain and transmit groundwater- should not have any kind of fracking. But really there should not be fracking in the UK.

“Anyone that is concerned about fracking or has done any research will know the links between fracking and earthquakes.

“They have been known to be caused for quite a few years by re-injection wells.

“We realise that if we had any fracking going on at the moment this would be doubly singificant.

“We have faulted ground here in East Kent because of the coal mining industry.”

The re-injection process is where the waste water used during the fracking process will be injected back underground, a key fracking fear.

And despite assurances that earthquakes caused by fracking would not be higher than a 3 on the Richter Scale- which is relatively small- there have been higher recordings.

In areas such as Alberta and Oklahoma in America, where fracking has been taking place, earthquakes had reached higher than 4.4.

“The evidence we are getting from America more and more is that when they said- ‘fracking does not cause earthquakes’- we are finding that this is not the case,” said Ms Wassmer.

“Where do they stop?”

Those in support of fracking have long insisted there is no risk of major tremors as a result of the process and that strict safety checks are in place.

Ken Cronin, the chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said: “The recent earthquake is in no way related to shale gas or hydraulic fracturing.

“Even if activity were happening, to make any connections between this random geologic event and the necessary, regulated exploration for shale gas is irresponsible and shows a lack of understanding of both geology, as well as oil and gas exploration.

“Seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing has been well researched by a number of independent UK based institutions and the risks have been found to be low.

“I deplore this opportunistic way that some groups want to put fear into local people.”


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