Environmentalist objections to hydraulic fracturing aren’t backed by science, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz told the U.K.’s Channel 4 News.
Moniz said natural gas could have “tremendous economic benefits” for the U.K., and that natural gas use has “been a major contributor to our reduction in CO2 [carbon dioxide] emissions.”
He said it’s not possible for the fracking process to contaminate drinking water the way environmentalists often claim.
The U.K. government lifted its de-facto ban on fracking in November. Drilling is expected to begin in mid-2017 for the first time since 2011.
“As the U.K. moves forward with decisions on shale development, they can either listen to extreme Keep-It-In-The-Ground activists or the actual experts and scientists,” Dr. Katie Brown, a researcher at the pro-industry group Energy In Depth, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Obama administration officials, including EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, have long touted the safety and environmental benefits of fracking – and study after study has found that it does not pose a credible threat to drinking water,” Brown said.
Fracking in Britain was halted after test-drilling allegedly triggered a very small magnitude 2.3 earthquake in 2011. A British Geological Survey report, carried out by independent experts, said the quakes were due to an “unusual combination of geology at the well site,” adding that the conditions which caused the minor earthquakes were “unlikely to occur again.”
British environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth claim to have gathered more than 186,000 signatures on a petition to ban fracking in the country, citing environmental impact. The groups are using the petition to claim fracking has no “democratic mandate.” However, many environmentalists disagree with these groups, as even former Greenpeace executive director Stephen Tindale, who is from the U.K., says fracking is “a central part of the answer” to global warming.
Fracking in Great Britain will create 74,000 new jobs and safeguard another 100,000, energy consulting groups estimate. Fracking for oil has the potential to generate anywhere from $10 billion to $74.6 billion for the British economy and $26 billion in new tax revenue for the British government, according to the studies, and could offer up to $16.5 million in benefits to local governments per fracking site.
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