Today’s announcement that UK fracker Cuadrilla caused earthquakes at the site of its two test wells is a victory for all fracking activists. Today’s British Geological Survey confirms what activists have been saying for months.
Cuadrilla are putting together a report as to how they will avoid causing earthquakes when they drill. In reality their job has been made that much harder.
Persuading the government that fracking can be made safe would be simple if no-one was watching. Thanks to the grass roots organising of fracking groups around the country, however, fracking is big news. They know we will be out here, scrutinising their every move.
Yet the industry has much at stake. AJ Lucas, one of the companies that owns Cuadrilla, is reliant on the company’s future success for its own current existence. Because of a huge debt pile, AJ Lucas last year sold one Australian operation, and is looking to sell a second – a US Mountain Top removal company. Its only significant remaining asset is in the UK; Cuadrilla, for AJ Lucas, must succeed.
This is a David and Goliath struggle. UK fracking is supported by some of the biggest names in the oil world, including Lord Browne (ex head of BP) and Riverstone/ Carlyle group, a shadowy conglomerate that is one of the oil and gas industry’s biggest backers. Frackers have hired local politicians, developed contacts within government and brought in senior lobbyists. As is essential for any business success in the UK, Cuadrilla are working their way inside the system.
We stand ready to oppose them. In the last year Frack Off activists have climbed towers, protested outside Cuadrilla’s public apearances and supported locals on the ground in Lancashire. We work on Twitter, Facebook and the web; we film, write, research, organise and protest. We put meetings together, encourage screenings, provide materials and reach out to others resisting this prehistoric industry.
And while we welcome the British Geological Survey’s report, we will continue to do this work until fracking is banned in the UK.