We realise that fracking is a complex issue, and that there’s an ocean of information about fracking out there. There is also much confusion and misinformation on both sides of the argument and it is advisable to check references and statistics for yourself. It’s also important to be aware that the industry has used strategies to smear or discredit some of the more influential films. A good example is the constant attack that Josh Fox, director of Gaslands, has been under.
Meanwhile here’s a list of links to what we feel are credible films, videos and sources of background information around the issue of fracking, which provide an ideal introduction to the complexities of the fracking issue. We hope that this will help you to inform yourself so that you can decide for yourself whether or not fracking is something we should pursue in the UK.
This documentary explores the dangers of fracking in the UK. Looking in particular at the areas of Blackpool and Sussex, filmmaker Danielle Spears speaks to residents, anti-fracking campaigners and also supporters of the shale gas industry to better understand the implications of this method of gas production being used in the UK.
An original investigative report by Earth Focus and UK’s Ecologist Film Unit looks at the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. Fracking Hell is a short film from Link TV providing a great introduction to fracking.
This is the testimony from Jessica Ernst B.Sc., M.Sc., an environmental specialist who worked for the oil and gas industry for several years. She discovered first hand the consequences of hydraulic fracturing in her town of Rosebud, Alberta, Canada. Jessica has come to Michigan and to other places around the world to warn communities of the dangers of fracking.
Documentary lifting the lid on fracking spin, investigating environmental and health issues associated with fracking in Australia, the US, and Lancashire and UK Methane’s plans to drill near drinking water sources in Somerset.
A seminal film, from US filmmaker Josh Fox, that has had more influence on people being sceptical of fracking than any other. Not only is this an award winning documentary, but it lends insight into the ways that ordinary people have had their lives and livelihoods affected by fracking in the US. This version has Spanish subtitles, but it is possible to buy the film if you visit Josh Fox’s site: http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/about-the-film
In this follow-up to his Oscar®-nominated film ‘Gasland’, filmmaker Josh Fox shows how the stakes have been raised on all sides in one of the most important environmental issues facing us today. The film argues that the gas industry’s portrayal of natural gas as a clean and safe alternative to oil is a myth and that fracked wells inevitably leak over time, contaminating water and air, hurting families, and endangering the earth’s climate with the potent greenhouse gas, methane. In addition the film looks at how the powerful oil and gas industries are in Fox’s words “contaminating our democracy”.
This is the full length version of a film by Lock The Gate Alliance (Australia) which explores the risks to communities from invasive gas fields.
This documentary from Four Corners shows how the two biggest CSG projects in Australia’s history were rail-roaded past the environmental impact assessment process without any consideration of how they will deplete Australia’s limited ground water reserves or any determination of the amounts of gas released. These projects are expected to lower water tables by between 100 and 700 metres.
Once you have the basic understanding of the issues, it is important to consider key, credible documents that have been produced independently of the industry. We have been careful to choose recent documents from reliable sources that give balanced accounts, strong analysis and verifiable research.
“Virtually all economic analysts refute the claim that fracking will reduce energy bills in the UK. Instead, it will lock us into continued reliance on fossil fuels and the increasingly volatile and expensive international gas market. Although fracking will generate jobs, job leakage is probable, and it may result in job losses in other industries, for example, agriculture and tourism. The job creation potential has been substantially exaggerated, and is also significantly less than that of the low-carbon energy sector, which itself may suffer from diversion of investment to shale gas. Community benefits have also been exaggerated… There is also some evidence of house prices having fallen near fracking sites… Given that, even without shale gas, proven global reserves of fossil fuels are five times higher than can be burned without risking a 2°C global temperature rise, the exploitation of shale gas is dangerous and unnecessary.”
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, July 2014
“As this unconventional extraction method (collectively known as “fracking”) has pushed into more densely populated areas of the United States, and as fracking operations have increased in frequency and intensity, a significant body of evidence has emerged to demonstrate that these activities are inherently dangerous to people and their communities. Risks include adverse impacts on water, air, agriculture, public health and safety, property values, climate stability and economic vitality.”
Concerned Health Professionals of New York, July 2014
“Although only very recent, the history of UG [Unconventional Gas] exploitation already includes instances of water contamination, leakages to soil, wide-scale land clearing and negative health impacts. Furthermore, increased extraction and use of UG is likely to be detrimental to efforts to curb climate change.”
University of Geneva, December 2013
“Our analysis suggests that the current regulatory regime is not fit for purpose and therefore unable to adequately manage serious environmental risks that may arise from individual projects and cumulative developments, such as species disturbance, water stress and inevitably the residual risk around pollution. Additionally, there is a significant risk that taxpayers and third parties could be forced to pick up liability for damage caused.”
Angling Trust, National Trust, RSPB, Salmon and Trout Association, The Wildlife Trusts, WWT, March 2014
“Policymaking would benefit from further research. The carbon footprint of shale gas extraction needs further research. Further benefit would also be derived from research into the public acceptability of shale gas extraction and use in the context of the UK’s energy, climate and economic policies.”
The Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, June 2012
“The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work.”
One of hundreds of industry documents leaked to the New York Times, 2011
“The US fracking experience is often presented as a success story, where the technology has been tried and tested in preparation for its spread around the world. In reality, the technique has been rushed into large-scale use with inadequate environmental monitoring and regulation and small consideration for the long-term impacts. Only time will tell what the real environmental and economic consequences of the great US shale gas experiment will be – but the signs do not look good.”New Internationalist, December 2013
A list compiled by Pennsylvanian citizens documenting (at time of writing) more than 7,000 individuals claimed to have been harmed in some way by fracking or its effects. Each story has its own link to further information, adding up to a compelling and worrying body of evidence of real US lives affected.