The measure sounds like pure electoralismo, but has not stopped ringing as a victory to the ears of the environmental groups in the United Kingdom. The Government of Boris Johnson has committed, a few days before the start of the election campaign, to prohibit indefinitely the fracking all over the country, “it is not until you provide definitive proof” of their safety. This technique of extracting gas from underground by injecting pressurized water, sand or chemicals had become in the last decade in the hope of the conservative governments to give the Uk greater energy independence.
George Osborne, the minister of Economy of the Executive David Cameron, came to ensuring that his purpose was to become “world leaders in the extraction of oil from shale”. And the own Boris Johnson felt that the potential energy of this practice was a “response to the prayers of the nation”. Close to 600 million euros have been invested so far this decade in research projects and prospecting, through companies such as Cuadrilla, Centrica, Ineos, Total and Igas. There are already exploratory wells in locations such as Lancashire, Cheshire, North Yorkshire or Nottinghamshire. In all cases, the movements of the local population against the project had gained a lot of strength. The own polls commissioned by the Government last June indicated that only 15% of citizens supported this new technique compared to 35% who opposed it.
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last August, an earthquake of magnitude 2.9 on the Richter scale caused by the fracking shook the homes of Blackpool. The Authority of Oil and Gas in the United Kingdom (OGA, its acronym in English) concluded in a later report, that “now it was not possible to predict with accuracy the likelihood or magnitude of earthquakes associated with the operations of fracking”.
Pressed by the promises of the labour opposition, which had been announced already in its election manifesto the total ban of this practice of extraction of gas, and by the popular rejection, Boris Johnson has announced by surprise, through its minister of Energy, Andrea Leadsom, the indefinite suspension of fracking. “Although we recognize the enormous potential of extraction of shale oil in the United Kingdom, which would help to shape a future free of coal consumption, I have always clearly stated that this practice should be carried out in a safe manner. After reviewing the investigation conducted by the OGA with respect to the recent seismic activity in Preston New Road (Lancashire), it has become clear that we cannot rule out future impacts unacceptable in the local community,” said Leadsom to announce the indefinite suspension of fracking.
in addition to the scientific questions of the potential harm the election is the fact that Rachel Wolf, of the group of consultants of Johnson, which has contributed to drafting its electoral program he had worked in a group of pressure favorable to the Crew, one of the companies affected by the measure. The labour opposition had already pulled the colors for the Government to point out the presence in the campaign team of prime minister Wolf, which they characterized as a “democratic scandal”.
The organizations of defense of the environment have held the turn in conservative politics, despite the fact that the reasons which have driven have not been of pure ecological consciousness. “This moratorium is a spectacular win for local communities and for our environment. For ten years people from all over the country has carried out a battle of David and Goliath against this powerful industry. We are proud to have been part of that battle,” said Craig Bennete, the director of the association Friends of The Earth (Friends of the Earth).
The leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, denounced the measure as a “face wash” that responds only to the pressure of voters. “I think that sounds like fracking will become a reality on the 13th of December [December 12, are provided for new general elections in the Uk], if the conservatives end up holding the Government”, said Corbyn on Saturday.