Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Exisiting regulations sufficient for shale gas, claims EU

An EU Commission report into shale gas and hydraulic fracturing has concluded that current regulations are sufficient to protect ground-water from contamination during fracking:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jan/30/fracking-regulation-ec-report

Which is good news for fracking, I suppose. Now, I must admit right from the start that I'm a scientist, not a policy-maker, and my understanding of the nitty-gritty of pollution regulations isn't what it probably should be. I'm sure that, for good reasons, when you get down into it there'll be some pretty complex law-making going on. However, let me tell you why this report seems like good, albeit rather obvious news to me. And it has nothing to do with shale gas and fracking.

Presumably, regulations should already be in place that state pretty clearly - if you do anything to cause pollution and contamination of ground-water (which can eventually end up in rivers, lakes, the sea, sensitive wetlands, and our drinking water), whether it's hydraulic fracturing or whatever other engineering process, I want you to be punished severely for it!

If, tomorrow, I invent some new process (let's call it 'bogswaddling', for want of a better name) then from the moment I first invent it, it should be covered by pre-existing legislation which says 'DO NOT POLLUTE GROUNDWATER SUPPLIES', no matter what you're up to. I don't want to wait for the EU to come up with some new laws specially for the bogswaddling. Creating new laws specifically for bogswaddling would probably provide the perfect opportunity for lobbyists on behalf of the bogswaddling industry to come in, do some lobbying and get some sort of exceptions or loop-holes. Why not just have laws that say 'NO POLLUTING OR MASSIVE FINES', doesn't matter whether you're fracking, bogswaddling or anything else.

So I'm glad that it appears that we already have legislation in place to ensure that Cuadrilla et al. won't be allowed to create pollution. I'm surprised that it would be an issue in the first place.

Now I'll sit back and wait for someone with a better understanding of the legislative side of things to explain to me why I'm wrong.....

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