Fracking Earthquakes In Search Of A Headline

In seismic shift, Britain orders immediate moratorium on fracking

That’s a Reuter’s headline from today.

A seismic shift in position to match the seismic events – the earthquakes that have followed fracking explorations in the north of England.

Such low-hanging fruit is better left hanging on the tree. The pun on the word seismic is too cute, and better resisted.

The facts cry out for a headline that puns, the journalists might say. Well, not exactly the facts, some assert. Some say that the statement is just a pre-elction publicity stunt, and that the Government will reverse its position as soon as (if) it wins the election on December 12th.

It’s a hard one to come back from, but some people believe that some Governments change their minds, or never intended to carry out their promise in the first place. They fudge evidence and show how contrary to what they said earlier, the truth is now the opposite.

A decent amount of time, a few months, other more important business to conduct, and a quiet Government statement that floats out under the wire, and fracking begins again. That’s how the critics see it.

Newspapers won’t be able to use the headline again. A seismic shift in intent that follows an earlier seismic shift that followed a previous course of action? No, that’s too many seismic shifts. What would it have to be, next time? It would need a ‘full and thorough investigation’ (or some equally high-sounding phrase) that reveals that fracking is no threat to the stability of the landscape. 

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom (a loathsome person in the eyes of some) said on the radio that the Government has always been clear that it will follow the science, and that as they cannot be certain that shale gas can be extracted safely, they are imposing a moratorium until the science changes.

Until the science changes. Hah! Those opposed to the cull that is wiping out tens of thousands of badgers have the backing of science. But the Government presses on killing badgers.

17 thoughts on “Fracking Earthquakes In Search Of A Headline

  1. Why are they killing badgers? Horrible and stupid! Someone should tell them about the wolves of Yellowstone!

    On the subject of governments that change their minds / story … I’m listening to Animal Farm on audiobook when I drive these days. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


    1. They have been culling badgers for a couple of years now, first with a local population in one area of the country, and now nationwide. They are culling them because they claim badgers spread TB to cattle. Badgers do carry TB, and there is some evidence they pass it to cattle. But TB is mainly passed from herd to herd because farmers do not inoculate and because they drive out of their area to cattle markets and mix herds. And, most damning – killing badgers does not work. It is well nigh impossible to kill every animal in the sett. The result is that the survivors move off and so they cull has no effect. The Government’s own scientific advisors have said this again and again. Some advisors have resigned in protest. My feeling is that the reason for the cull is more visceral. Public pressure stopped fox hunting. Now the Tory Government wants payback for the public disapproval of its recreational habits. So they ride over the scientific objections and kill animals that do not deserve to die.


  2. They put a moratorium on fracking in this province a few years ago. Don’t think we’d had any big earthquakes [a few smaller ones], and no badgers, but there was so much protesting. The indigenous people were particularly vocal … but not only them.


      1. Honestly?! I don’t know.
        It’s so shameful to say but I’m clueless about the news. I don’t think things are going all that good out there in Alberta now. Before everyone and his dog was going out there to make money, but not so anymore.
        The big refinery is here, in my city, and I keep seeing all the big, black tanker waggons, so it’s still coming.


        1. There was an exhibition here in the UK few years ago, with photos from the air looking at the mess people make of the planet, including the tar sands in Canada and the trampling on the rights of native Americans. I remember the name from that. And the Keystone pipeline and all the protests.


        2. Yeah, I’ve seen images. It’s a mess. I think there’s still some hoopla about the pipeline. I don’t know what I think … it’s like choosing between pest and cholera. When I see the trains I just think of Lac Megantic.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. LOL, ‘Athabasca Tar Sands’ now THERE’s a term I haven’t heard for a while. Perhaps we should start calling them that again (and be sure to make reference to the La Brea Tar Pits just to keep it in focus, hey?; ) Canadians might keep a better grip on what’s actually being discussed when the touch-phrase these days is ‘The Oil Sands’


        1. I am sure it does. At a talk I went to about containing bad news, the speaker described how Nestle acted after bad publicity that affected sales.

          You might remember the scandal about their unethical promotion of Nestle products in Africa, manipulating uneducated mothers to replace breast milk with Nestle products.

          The speaker said that after everything died down, Nestle brought in people to guard against it happening again, and now Nestle have a team devoted to this – a room with banks of screens, and people who monitor every mention of the brand and seek to put out messages that nullify any bad publicity before it has chance to spread.


    1. oops, here it is:
      And yes, thank you Rebecca for bringing back Lac Mégantic into the frame as well. I’m tired of it looking like it’s all a matter of high-paying jobs in Alberta. People don’t seem to remember that there have been several waves of ‘boom and bust’ in the Oil Industry jobs Out West… (This is the second one within my lifetime) and during the first they always said that the Tar Sands were too expensive to extract.


      1. A sideways move from me to talk about divestment from shares in the oil companies. This makes the news when a pension fund or a university is persuaded to sell its investment in the oil companies.But for every seller there is a buyer. Buyers who buy oil shares now are likely to care less about environmental concerns than those who are selling. That puts oil in the hands of the worst people. No?‬ Or am I missing something?


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