No Benefits from Fracking!

3 frackingA PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) report was released last week which promoted the strategic and economic significance of the new Hydraulic Fracturing ‘Fracking’ process for British capitalism. The study which focused on the impact of ‘Fracking for Oil’ identified that the new approach would result in a potential £50 billion in additional revenues to the British Exchequer. 
The study, produced by PWC’s Oil & Gas specialists based in Scotland, the heart of the British Oil & Gas industry, emphasised the geostrategic importance of domestic sources of oil in reducing the dependence of Britain’s economy on oil-imports. Previously, similar arguments have been advanced to promote fracking for natural gas much of which is currently imported from Russia, leading to concerns among the capitalist class about security of supply.
These reports also suggest that the oil and gas obtained from fracking technology will result in an economic bonanza as they lower prices of these commodities in the UK. The reality is, however, that the supply of gas will not result in a cost reduction for consumers but that, instead, frackers will sell their gas at the going market rate.
While there may be some taxation revenue which will be raised from the (massively inflated) estimates of £80 billion worth of natural gas under Fermanagh and the consequential industrialisation of this rural area will necessitate some additional employment (although the fracking companies own, inflated estimates are for no more than about 600 employees in the region), there will also be significant economic costs.
The industry involves the pollution of huge quantities of water – even according to the frackers own highly underestimated figures this will amount to approximately 2 billion gallons of water for 3,000 wells. Their public relations promoters reassure local people that none of this waste water will ever make its way back into the local lakes (which supply drinking water for the wider area) but few believe them.
The pollution from the scale and intensity of activity proposed will result in severe damage to the local economy – tourism operators will close as industrialisation will destroy the beauty and attractiveness of the area and wreck angling and other outdoor activities. Farmers are also threatened by the potential for benzene and other toxic chemicals to contaminate water or livestock. The community risks losing everything while the shareholders in corporate exploration companies and their lobbyists such as PWC are the only ones who will gain from this ‘gas and oil bonanza’.
The Socialist Party is working alongside local communities, environmentalists and trade union activists in a new broad, campaign group ‘Ban Fracking Fermanagh’ which demands nothing less than a ban on fracking. We cannot negotiate terms with the corporations or rely on the empty promises of sectarian politicians – nothing less than mass and outright opposition to fracking will stop it from destroying our county.

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