graphic credit: darthpedrius (Flickr CC)

The chairman of the UK’s environment agency, Lord Smith, has voiced public support for the controversial natural gas and petroleum technique known as hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ with the argument that it will provide a secure and domestic source of energy.

Fracking was linked to minor earthquakes when shale gas extraction was tried in the area around Blackpool, England. There are also concerns about groundwater contamination, methane leaks and the industrialization of the countryside, as has been experienced in large parts of the US, including government protected, publicly owned lands.

From The Ecologist:

Lord Smith’s backing follows pressure on the UK to [support] the extraction of shale gas. Former BP chief Lord Browne said last month that the Government should not ‘get in the way’ of shale gas companies such as Cuadrilla Resources, of which he is now a director. The British Geological Survey (BGS) estimate the UK could become one of the world’s biggest shale gas producers.

Lord Smith did qualify his support by stating that fracking must be done safely and effectively, meaning that methane isn’t released into atmosphere or groundwater contaminated.

Well, duh. I mean, this is England, not the Wild West of the US of A. It’s like with nuclear power, which the Environment chief is also backing. The threat of climate change seems to open doors to certain industries. But despite ‘orders’ from former environment chief Michael Meacher MP for officials to identify and clean up nuclear waste sites back in 1997, it simply did not happen.

So why should anyone believe in further government safeguards against nuclear or fracking-related issues?

Read more on Lord Smiths statements on BBC News.