Activists ready for fracking fight

2012-07-31 22:15

Pretoria - Anti-fracking campaigners are preparing for a legal wrangle with the government, as time ticks on towards the scheduled announcement of the Karoo fracking report, expected in August.

The Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) has set up a legal team to re-focus its legal strategy in preparation for an all-out confrontation to prevent fracking in the Karoo.

The lobby group's chair Jonathan Deal said Cabinet was expected to make a decision in August on whether to lift the existing moratorium and allow exploratory drilling.

"We have engaged the well-established [legal] firm of Cullinan & Associates, who will bring fresh thinking and decades of experience to our approach at this critical time in our campaign," said Deal.

"We have been preparing for the moratorium to be lifted for a long time. We have selected the best legal minds that we can get to assist us to take this matter to the Constitutional Court, if need be," he said.

Last year, the mineral resources department imposed a moratorium on fracking with the aim of implementing a study into the environmental impact of the controversial issue of drilling for shale gas in the Karoo - a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Mining Minister Susan Shabangu announced last August that the moratorium on prospecting for shale gas had been extended.

At the time, she said her department had to "engage with the public" on the contentious matter and, therefore, the extension of the moratorium was necessary.

God given

Deal said the activists' fears about the awarding of fracking licences were awakened by statements made by Energy Minister Dipuo Peters during a recent departmental meeting.

According to Deal, the minister said: "It would be wrong for us to not use the resources that God left us with. This is a blessing that God gives us, and we need to exploit [it] for the benefit of the people."

She said the people of the Karoo were "going hungry".

"In the run-up to the decision by government we are re-focusing our efforts to present a high-powered, well prepared legal campaign which we believe will halt the minister in her tracks," Deal said in a statement.

"We believe we have the support of right-thinking South Africans. We are not deterred by the fact that a number of people may have been influenced by Shell's relentless pro-fracking propaganda, regarding the size of the gas deposits to the number of jobs that could be created," he said.

"Our message to government is: 'If you rule in favour of fracking, under the current circumstances, prepare for a long and costly legal battle as the people who will be most affected fight back'."

  • phillip.beukes.5 - 2012-07-31 22:38

    I will never use Shell as long as they think about fracking in the Karoo... if you want to frack, do it in your own country, not mine...

      ntloko.yamazizi - 2012-08-01 07:55

      Keep ur money shell does not need it.many ppl need jobs out de

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:07

      I am with you Phillip. I have not ever again put in Shell since I became educated on the terrible environmental damage that fracking will cause. Shell had an ABSOLUTELY SHOCKING environmental record (esp in Africa), and they are just about to destory the Arctic as well. This is not a SA issue - it is a WORLD Environmental ssue. Our planet has 40-50 years left at the current rate of destruction of the environment, then we will all be extinct. We need FORWARD THINKING people to STOP THE DESTRUCTION now!!!! Google Gordon Pugh Lewis for the TRUTH on the matter. Stand up against this everybody, for the sake of the world. Boycott environmental abusers like Shell, and put massive pressure on governments!

      CassandraXabata - 2012-08-01 08:36

      @phillip.beukes.5 NIMBY yeah @alan.gernet. So you have studied on what GP Lewis said. Have you also studied socio-economics and socio-politics? There are actually FORWARD THINKING people that take a opposite view to Lewis'. If you believe that "our planet has 40-50 years left" before homo sapiens' extinction, you cannot really expect people to go with your standpoint. Please explain how boycotting Shell will put "massive pressure on governments" ? Simple logic would say that if Shell is boycotted to point of backcruptsy, some other oil company will buy them out and/or gain their petroleum product sales. So who must then be boycotted? All the other oil companies? To the extent that worldwide industry comes to a halt? How long do you think wil the planet have left then? Fracking is a fact and the Karoo will not be exempt. Lets rather deal with the matter in a different way. No emotion, more thinking and offering viable alternatives. We must not fool ourselves the amount of jobs to be created will not be massive. The amount of money yes. So lets lobby now to get a slice (a big one) for social upliftment, job creation in- and outside the Karoo, crime prevention etc. (Death of an enemy can come from a massive slash or a 1000 small cuts)

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 09:15

      @Cassandra. Please do yourself a favour before you make comments based on ignorance. The Earth is in free-fall. There are countless scientific articles about this, mostly denied by governments (USA in particular). Take a look at one of the graphs of the world's population explosion, and where it will be in 40 years time at the current rate. (And Africa and India are exponentially higher than elsewhere). Take a look at the graphs of rainforest destruction. 20% of the Amazon alone has been destroyed forever in the last 2 decades, with a maximum 30 years left. Other rainforests are going at a faster rate in Peru,Chile etc. The Amazon alone provides 20% of the Earth's oxgen. Take a look at how this has already affected climate, global warming, water pollution, Co2 buildup etc. Look at the loss of biodiversity, evolved over millions of years, and destroyed in decades before we even know what we have lost. Take a look at the water shortages in the world, and the rate of water pollution. And if you educate yourself on that, you will realise that we are in a CRISIS, and that nothing else really matters. Then you can understand why scientists predict the end on the Earth and species. Then you can understand how short term and meaningless a few jobs are. So by taking action (boycotting, recycling, reducing consumption etc), you are not condoning the world's desrtuction - you ARE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Then you can look your children in the eye...

      david.questioner - 2012-08-01 09:23

      @ Cassandra: "Fracking is a fact and the Karoo will not be exempt" You sure about that? There is more and more resistance worldwide to fracking, and why should we just accept that Shell is going to destroy a unique ecosystem? The only beneficiaries will be Shell and a few of their employees. Upliftment of the community is pie-in-the-sky tripe. When Shell is finished there will only be an unusable wasteland. I too refuse to use Shell products, not because I think that will bring them down, but as a matter of principle.

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-01 10:26

      at Cassandra and ntloko.... so jobs huh? You mean the menial low level labour? While shell brings it own engineers and experts from the states and the UK teaching the local frak all about anything? And if you really believe shell and the anc about social upliftment you're as gullible as a three year old waiting for Santa..... The money will go to shell, to the anc ministers and who ever allowed this. A trickle of money might come to the people. And just a thought.......once they finished destroying the karoo leaving this farming environment (yes they do farm there - ever heard of Karoo lamb?) a wasteland, sucked dry of this supposed "God given gift" and Shell leave with all the money and the jobs are lost what then? Lamb will sky rocket, farmers will be without lively hoods, the peopel who were recruited into the low level jobs will be without and the pittens they received will not have been invested or lead to a better life....... oh wait - I'm white and a counter revolusionist monopolist who sooooo wants to see black still oppressed and not economically liberated (even though I actually believe more employed blacks would lead to such a better country) and of course the anc is not lying to you.........sorry, disregard my comment.

      Darryn - 2012-08-01 11:32

      Don't these people have children? Don't people care what kind of planet their children will inherit? Problem with humans is that they are more concerned about their own well-being and prosperity. The ONLY reason the government wants this is: A: Money in their own back pockets Job creation.... probably more work for people already employed by shell mostly. All I see is a nice big fancy mansion with the owner crapping on his own doorstep (and that of his neighbour's too!)

      jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-08-01 13:37

      Ntloko, don't be mistaken. Shell doesn't need you either. Had a look at what they did in Nigeria?.

  • allen.bullard.9 - 2012-07-31 23:21

    Shell - Frack Off!

      greg.quinn.353 - 2012-08-01 11:56

      Agree! For anyone who doesn't know how bad fracking is.. watch these highlights from this documentary...

  • phae.rayden - 2012-07-31 23:24

    Right behind you!

      ingi.raikes - 2012-08-01 00:10

      Right behind who? Shell or the anti frackers???

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:08

      behind anti-frackers (aka known as Responsible Forard Thinkers!).

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:30

      forward, i mean

  • Sechaba30 - 2012-08-01 00:53

    Just frack it and create jobs, we will think about nature late. We can't think about nature and forget to think that some people are hungry out there.

      Danie - 2012-08-01 01:07

      You are going to get so many thumbs down for this. And although you could have stated it more eloquently, I agree with you. Why people always take the American cow boy fracturing approach as the rule of thumb I cannot understand. Many countries, including Canada where I currently work for a fracturing company, perform these stimulations with a lot of care and sophistication. Some even do it without water (see that increases the "greeness" of the process. Read up and consider all the facts, not just those that are propagated by a special interest group. Make up your own mind about the pro's and cons rather than being just a sheeple. I am not saying each person must agree or disagree with fracturing, but at least be confident that you made up your onw mind based on a proper fact gathering mission

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-08-01 06:22

      @Danie so the way you guys frack does not cause any underground water damage, in spite of all the toxic gases you use? If it does, Shell can gladly frack off!

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-08-01 06:22

      @Danie so the way you guys frack does not cause any underground water damage, in spite of all the toxic gases you use? If it does, Shell can gladly frack off!

      fanie.viljoen.73 - 2012-08-01 08:16

      Danie, as long as you pump chemicals into the earth you are destroying natural resources. The water alone will not help, you tease yourself. Canada is almost the only country in the world with enough water for the next 100 + years, we rely on under ground resources.

      sam.goldberg.988 - 2012-08-01 08:19

      Yeah, let's eat all the ingredients now and then we'll figure out how to make a cake once they're finished.

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:22

      @Sechaba and Danie. Please read Gordon Pugh Lewis to educate yourselves about the truth regarding fracking, and also read up about Shell's Environmental damage record. What good are a few short term jobs when the Planet is destroyed? That is not just emotion - it is hard fact. The Earth is being destoyed at an unprecedented rate from human greed and stupidity. It already cannot meet the demands of the inhabtants now as it is. Billions of people have no access to safe water at present. We are for example losing 1.5 acres of rainforest (lungs of the earth) every single SECOND, of every day 24/7, 365. That is bigger than a football field being mowed down every second, causing along with it, the extinction of 134 species of plants, animals, insects micro-organisms evry single day. (50,000 extint annually) This also pollutes water, causes global warming etc. Everything in nature is interlinked. The earth (at the current rate of destruction) only has 40-50 years left MAX! It's time to get educated, and act with our heads. And destroying the environment and precious water for a few jobs is no answer. Curbing our breeding rate is the first step we need to take! Water shortages are going to cause unprecedented wars and economies to collapse withing the next decade. So guys, if you support Shell and other similar companies to destroy the little that is left, YOU are equally responsible for what you and your children will have to face. We all need to stand up against this evil! NOW!!

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-01 10:37

      at Sechaba - interesting view. Pretty sure that's what the oil companies said...... and the mining companies - ag lets mine now so we create jobs, we'll worry about acid mine water later..... oh and the cigerette companies - ag lets promote smoking, will worry about peoples health later..... Problem is, too often things are done at the environments expense and it comes back to bite us in the arse? Wonder if in 50 years those same people would choose jobs or water?

      Darryn - 2012-08-01 11:38

      At Sechaba.... great! So lets fruck it all up now so our children and grandchildren have to deal with the consequences later. You are such an ignorant, selfish fool!! Kind of like what apartheid has done to all us whites (and all races) now. It is the youth of today that are having to deal with the crap that their forefathers left for them to inherit.

      lyellvanderwalt - 2012-09-07 21:57

      'We will think about nature later' Without question and without a shadow of doubt, the stupidest thing I have ever read on News24. And as you can imagine, it's up against some pretty stiff competition.

  • Gerda Malherbe - 2012-08-01 05:10

    Sechaba don't show in public what an idiot you are. There is no water in the Karoo and this will annihilate the little there is. How can you live without water?

      Sechaba30 - 2012-08-01 06:16

      Read Danie's post above, I just learn that in some countries water is not even used for fracking.

      Madoqua - 2012-08-01 06:55

      @Sechaba30: Invariably new technology, like waterless gas fracking, is more expensive and a last resort. The profit margins for these companies are on a knives edge and they will always opt for the cheapest, tested option, unless pressure is brought to bear from government or groups like the TKAG.

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:23

      The mixing of water and oil/gas is what pollutes the underground water from drilling. It is completely unpredictable what will happen underground when drilling.

      K9LAKHAN - 2012-08-01 10:39

      Alan is on to something... ( Alan please check this article below ) In the report below within the link there was mention off: - the chemical water coming out of drilling was saltier then sea water. - the waste water was then pumped into the ground , and this resulted in Earthquakes. - Radioactive material from deep layers of the earth came to the surface. *One would have to decide whether the fracking project would effect the Space Program? ( Earthquake,dust etc ) *Also would the petrol company do what it does in Nigeria? - were none of the profits are seen by the locals. *It would be great to have both industries and twice as many jobs been created, as South Africa is ready to advance - Hope it fracking works out ! ...or we all fracked depending on the euro.

  • mark.hicks.90281 - 2012-08-01 06:32

    Uh ha, so by fracking the karoo community will get rich, ask the Nigerians how great that's worked out for them with their crude oil. The only people who will get rich are the \enabling\ politicians and the Shell directors, but they are all that matter anyways!

  • dufousk.dufous - 2012-08-01 06:44

    Don't hear anyone from the Karoo whining when they open anothe power station in Mpumalanga. Let the fracking begin.

      Madoqua - 2012-08-01 06:59

      What an absolutely asinine comment!

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:24

      hmmm spelling should maybe be DUFUS???

      crazyjourno - 2012-08-01 11:13

      @ dufous: Well, my dad is a farmer and they want to use part of his land to frack on. He will not be able to grow any crop, which will have a huge impact on his income. And, this will also lead to food prices shooting sky high, for then food will become scarce and we will have to import... Just think further than your nose. Also, jip, creating jobs for a couple of years, at the cost of others, and then what? Shell leaves SA stinking rich and poor old Africa suffers more than ever with a food shortage and more unemployed peeps...

  • CassandraXabata - 2012-08-01 07:18

    Do the anti-fracking lobbyists really think they can hold out for ever so that it cannot even be established how much gas there is, at what depths and what the potential costs for extraction will be? Emotion and boycotting Shell will not endear anyone to anyone who is already seeing $s in VAT income, payoffs, backhanders, career building opportunities etc. Sheer greed, if not any other humane consideration will finally win. The shades of Petrosa etc comes to mind. Rather now give a little re exploration and loose a battle, but win a war ensuring green processes, the money channeled correctly, environmental impact less than the coal fiasco up north and last but not least prevent another Sishen mineral rights debacle. Be very assured that the ANC who cannot distinguish between party and state needs money and power to hang on. (That's unless Jesus comes early). Fracking is another source of funding for Bling, Defence Slush funds, Boeings etc etc. Use the anti-fracking money to lobby and get a new government that comes in on an anti-fracking ticket rather.

      Darryn - 2012-08-01 12:31

      Cassandra.... once they are in there will be only one way to do it and that is the cheapest (ie least environmentally friendly) way of doing it. Kind of like the government... full of empty promises and ZERO accountability.

  • wesleywt - 2012-08-01 07:20

    So, what's the evidence that fracking causes pollution? Or is this just another hippy cause that has no basis. Don't just down vote. I want to know please.

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:25

      Read Gordon Pugh Lewis.

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-01 10:40

      Uhm - you see the picture on the article? Burning water? That is not photo shopped my friend!

      wesleywt - 2012-08-02 12:26

      Methane in water is not a new thing. And one guy with an opinion doesn't cut it either. We need numbers here.

  • ntloko.yamazizi - 2012-08-01 07:48

    Frack frack frack Gud ppl we are sitting with a lot of unemployed ppl in dis country so if the are opportunities like these to create jobs then frack da jobs out of da rock shell but they must make sure that there won't be shortage of water.

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 08:28

      The job shortage is symptomatic of reckless breeding, when people cannot even support themselves. Every single person on Earth leaves a legacy of a carbon footprint, and the Earth already cannot cope. It is heading to total destruction at the current rate within 40-50 years. Time to get our priorities right on earth.

      david.questioner - 2012-08-01 09:40

      Fracking will not create significant jobs for the local community. On the contrary, it is likely to destroy the farming the local community depends on.

  • craig.king.7505 - 2012-08-01 08:08

    The picture used in the article is deceitful and from the video "Gasland" which has been successfully challenged as a fictional portrayal of the producer's prejudices. It would be immoral for a small group of Karoo lovers to hold all of South Africa back over some hippy dream. Most South Africans want jobs, incomes and energy at affordable prices. The American EPA has found no evidence that fracking, in use for over 60 years, causes any damage to water supplies. This is a huge opportunity for South Africa to advance and it is immoral for a small group of people, already well off and comfortable in comparison to so many others, to deny the nation a good chance of economic and social improvement. The water is reusable and if water is not available then propane can be used. Don't allow yourselves to be misled by anti business, anti economic progress activists. What they are doing does not serve your interests well.

      sam.goldberg.988 - 2012-08-01 08:22

      Actually the EPA found evidence of water contamination decades ago:

      denis.dendrinos - 2012-08-01 10:42

      Short term local enconomic rewards which pale to shells profits vs long term sustainability........ makes sooo much sense.

  • fanie.viljoen.73 - 2012-08-01 08:12

    The "people of the Karoo" or the people at Shell? No one in the Karoo will benefit, perhaps a few politicians. Go look, you WILL find some irregularities.

  • dewalds3 - 2012-08-01 08:43

    'Going hungry' - when there is no more usable water in the Karoo, then we will see how hungry you go.

  • Michael - 2012-08-01 08:55

    ah. I stopped reading this article at "we must exploit God's gifts"

  • CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 09:20

    so once again we get into bed with fat a$$ americanos and when we wake up the next day with a sore ar$e we look around for someone to blame. if this ABSOLUTELY MUST be done for the sake of jobs why cant WE do it for a change instead of selling our country?

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 09:23

      africa is being used as the worlds b1tch

      craig.king.7505 - 2012-08-01 22:05

      So just nationalise the gas industry. But don't deny the nation the benefits.

  • juanontheweb - 2012-08-01 09:36

    Frack you people who want to frack!!! simple as that!

  • harald.voney - 2012-08-01 11:04

    Boycott Shell!!! that'll teach them!! leave the Karoo alone, its not yours to F#$ck up!!

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 11:21

      Neither is the Arctic there for Shell to destroy. The world is ONE ECOSYSTEM, that affects every single living thing. We need to have a responsible approach to using the World's resources. Controlling the World's population would be a great starting place, as the demand already far exceeds what the earth an sustainably provide.

  • - 2012-08-01 11:53

    Bring the fracking and the jobs... FRACK the greenie beanies... !!!

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 11:58

      Eish - I hope you never have offspring.... - 2012-08-01 12:31

      @alan.gernet Nice one son !!!

      CORNHOLIO - 2012-08-01 12:41

      did you know that robocop has no penis or balls old man?

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 12:49

      I mean it!

      seanrossouwslr - 2012-09-07 11:10

      So you believe a job for a few years is worth destroying the environment for hundreds of years? People like that are exactly why we are in such an environmental mess in the first place. Proper research must be done.

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-08-01 13:36

    Another Shell mess. How the Government can even listen to these crooks are beyond me.

      alan.gernet - 2012-08-01 15:03

      Birds of a feather....

  • trudy.cashel - 2012-08-02 15:04 For the sake of the majority of poor South Africans WATCH this movie and STOP the nonsense about fracking. Fracked gas is the KEY to lifting people out of poverty because it delivers cheap clean safe energy.

      seanrossouwslr - 2012-09-07 11:13

      Which is then exported until it runs out and the fracking company closes its doors and leaves the country?

  • ryno.botha.315 - 2012-09-07 11:54

    I officially will not buy as much as a peanut again from Shell. I challenge you go and watch the Documentary Gasland to get an brief idea waht fracking is about?.

  • ryno.botha.315 - 2012-09-07 11:56

    It is official I will never buy as much as a peanut again from Shell. I challenge you, go and watch the documentary Gasland to get a brief idea what the guys have in mind to do in the Karoo!.

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