Another loud and clear ‘frack off’

2016-02-10 06:00
Some of the many posters make it quite clear what the general view is.

Some of the many posters make it quite clear what the general view is.

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A HUGE crowd of more than 800 poster-wielding anti-frackers packed Greytown Community Hall last Thursday to once again put across the message loud and clear to Rhino Gas and Oil and SLR Consultants - “No, we do not want you or fracking under any circumstances”.
Rhino, represented by South African­ CEO Phillip Steyn and SLR's Matthew Hemming, were deftly guided­ through the varied non-stop protests by an adept and efficient facilitator who insisted Greytown were the hosts. This was accepted by the audience who then said, as hosts, “cut the waffle and the presentations by Rhino and SLR and get on with questions and comments”.

This meeting was a follow-up on the abortive meeting in November 2015. There seemed to be a very real feeling that despite the fact the legal public participation requirements were being followed in terms of environmental assessment, the anti-fracking arguments and protests would not prevent fracking in the Midlands and elsewhere.
It was pointed out that Rhino Oil South Africa and head office in the U.S. were unlikely to spend these vast sums of money for preliminary investigations, and after three years, find that these investigations did not warrant­ fracking.

Steyn said it would either be the conventional methods of extraction or fracking.
He admitted in response to queries that if the exploratory project indicated fracking was viable, the many points raised about contamination of water and land and the impact on people etc., would not be a deterrent to Rhino. He continually emphasised that if fracking was done well it was safe.

In his view he said this would be the answer to South Africa’s vast unemployment problem as well as saving money because no longer would the hundreds of millions barrels of oil have to be imported.

There is a tight timeline to be followed in the EIA and a considerable portion of the 1,5 million hectares in the exploratory project belonged to the Ingonyama Trust.

Steyn said that urgent preliminary discussions were taking place this week because to date no discussions had taken place in northern KZN with traditional leaders.

Concern was expressed at the negative­ and detrimental impact on the lives of the “poor” in rural areas who would not understand the ins and outs of the exploratory processes and any follow-up.

After three and half hours the meeting was closed and Hemming informed those still present that there would be ongoing consultations and that a draft-scoping report would be published in March for all interested parties.
The Greytown Gazette will publish information as it comes to hand.

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