The trial for the first fracking rig occupation in Lancashire last November kicks off next week. Starting Tuesday 10th July and scheduled to last till Friday 13th July… so four full days at Preston Magistrates Court.
If you’re against fracking and want to see it stopped, it’d be great to have your support, both inside and outside the court room! If you can’t make it down you can still help out by spreading the word (see below for social media details), and solidarity actions are always welcome.
Three protesters have been charged with aggravated trespass and are pleading not guilty based on ‘necessity’; asserting stopping fracking is necessary in the context of run-away climate change and the damage it will cause the environment and local communities. Defendants will also be challenging the ‘lawfulness’ of the extractive process.
The defendants will be backed up by a number of witnesses, both ‘experts’ and from the local community, who will testify about the consequences of climate change and hydraulic fracturing, the damage it causes to water contamination, air pollution, severe health risks, earthquakes etc. The defence aim to totally rebuke industry claims that fracking is a harmless ‘environmentally friendly’ way to extract fossil fuel… and instead put the industry on trial.
Protesters stormed the gas rig in Banks, Lancashire on 2nd Nov 2011, with one team climbing the derrick (drill) and a second team scaling the pipe handling system, occupying the rig and stopping work at the site for a day, decorating the slimy machinery with anti-fracking banners while they were at it.
The occupation of the rig was timed to coincide with an industry sponsored “Shale Gas Environmental Summit” in London, a farcical event where industry and government regulators meet to collaborate on greenwashing PR to cover up the damage done by the fossil fuel industry.
The rig occupation also coincided with the release of a report by Cuadrilla admitting that the hydraulic fracturing of its first well had caused several earthquakes.
Since fracking came to the UK last year there have been mobilisations of local community groups and environmental activists across the country rising up against the industry. Including another occupation of the site in December 2011 and a blockade at PR Marriot Drilling in Chesterfield, where the rig was being serviced, last month.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Halting the extraction of more fossil fuels is essential at a time when the planet is warming exponentially. Compared to 100 years ago the climate is 0.75 degrees warmer and now, in 2012, the International Energy Agency warn we are on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years.
For the younger generation this means the world will become largely uninhabitable in their lifetime, certainly for their kids, if emissions are not cut. The immediate period, now, is regarded as a tipping point and despite a lot of rhetoric about ‘tackling climate change’ from governments, financial institutions and industries alike, in recent years we have seen the highest emissions ever.
Extracting resources on this scale to feed the industrial system is destroying the environment that our lives depend on.
As conventional oil and gas production peaks, government and industries continue to steam roll ahead developing destructive practices that will provide profitable new markets to line their pockets.
Fracking is part of a recent boom in more extreme methods of extraction, described as ‘unconventional energy sources’; Tar Sands, Mountain Top Removal, Deep Water Drilling, Coal Bed Methane, Underground Coal Gasification and Nuclear expansion.
Extractive industries notoriously deny damaging the environment and negatively effecting humans, animals or the environment. However there is a long history of these industries causing wide-scale destruction, and also long history of cover ups.
Its time to put fracking on trial!