It is time to frack off

2016-02-03 06:00

According to various media reports the South African government has agreed to the controversial oil and gas exploration known as hydraulic fracking, despite the fact that several overseas countries and states in America have banned it and in South Africa the anti-fracking supporters far outweigh those in favour­.
This was obvious at the very voluble public participation meetings hosted last year by SLR Consulting, who are tasked with carrying out an environmental assessment of the 10 000 farms identified in the KZN Midlands and obtaining public opinion.

After participants at the public meetings last year demanded that the environmental impact assessment process be extended to accommodate those who were not able to attend meetings due to the inadequate venues arranged, Petroleum Agency of SA granted an extension for the scoping process until 20 April.
After a meeting with Rhino Oil & Gas and SLR, Pasa agreed to the environmental authorisation process proceeding despite “strong objections” to the project.

Greytown’s meeting is now happening - SLR has arranged meetings in Howick, Mooi River and Greytown as follows:

Thursday, 4 February at 2.30pm at the Greytown Community Hall in Cathcart Street.

It is vital that everyone who attended the first meeting is present as well as other interested parties.

A recent submission to the United Nations by over 500 individuals and companies from throughout the world, points out that:

“Unlike conventional oil and gas operations, fracking shale formations employs voluminous quantities of fresh water, typically over 20 000 000 litres for each well. It also generates large quantities of liquid toxic waste for which there are no adequate safe disposal facilities.
“This liquid fracking waste, usually disposed of in underground industrial waste injection wells, can be radioactive, and can also leak into groundwater. All of these processes generate large-scale human and environmental safety risks.

“Since concern over fracking operations began to surface around the world over the past decade, over 600 peer-reviewed scientific studies and thousands of journalistic­ reports have shown that fracking causes significant adverse social and environmental impacts.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and independent scientists have identified over 1 000 chemical ingredients utilised as fracking fluids, which are injected into the ground

“The most notorious documented fracking studies come from the oil and gas industry itself, showing for example, that failed underground casings and cement sheaths, which allow fracking fluids and hydrocarbons to contaminate underground sources of drinking water and vent methane directly into the atmosphere, happen at staggering rates.
“About five percent of all oil and gas wells leak immediately upon drilling and nearly 60% leak after a 30-year period, according to one well-known oil and gas company’s study of leakage.

“Globally, the cumulative impact of fracking is also profound. Despite industry claims that fracked natural gas will help to address climate change by replacing other CO2 emitting energies with a more climate-friendly alternative, the inadequacy of technology currently employed in fracking operations results in the release of large quantities of fugitive methane into the atmosphere.
“Considering that methane gas is approximately 72 to 100 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, fracking is exacerbating climate change, not mitigating it.”

Rhino Oil & Gas have submitted yet another application for a further technical co-operation permit for another 32,737 km2 in northern KZN.
Information and maps are available on or

As shown by the large and voluble turnout at the first meeting Umvoti residents are against fracking and it is vital that this message is once again conveyed loud and clear to would-be frackers at tomorrow’s meeting – so please be there.

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