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article imageFracking given the green light by UK government

By Leigh Goessl     Dec 14, 2012 in Environment
The controversial hydraulic fracturing process has been approved in the U.K. following an earlier suspension of drilling. As a result, the process, often referred to as 'fracking', will resume.
This week the U.K. government has decided that fracking could recommence after a review was done to examine concerns the process is connected to minor earthquakes that occurred when a company, Cuadrilla Resources, was drilling for shale gas in Lancashire.
However, now Cuadrilla Resources, and other companies, will be allowed to continue drilling for shale gas, reported PRW.
Edward Davey, Energy and Climate Change Secretary said fracking would be "subject to new controls to mitigate the risks of seismic activity."
"Shale gas represents a promising new potential energy resource for the UK," Davey said. "It could contribute significantly to our energy security, reducing our reliance on imported gas, as we move to a low carbon economy."
He indicated his decision is based on evidence examined, current research and advice from "leading experts in the field."
Fracking, which is a controversial topic in many countries, involves pumping large amounts of water, mixed with a brew of chemicals, into the ground to fracture rock deep beneath the Earth's surface to extract the natural gas. There are many environmental and health concerns people have about the process.
Officials said the new controls include companies engaged in fracking will have to draw up a plan showing how seismic risks will be limited. During exploration, companies also will have to monitor any seismic activity continuously before they start and once they conclude.
"Today's news is a turning point for the country's energy future. Shale gas has the potential to create jobs, generate tax revenues, reduce our reliance on imported gas, and improve our balance of payments," Cuadrilla Resources' chief executive Francis Egan said in a statement, reported CNN.
Egan also reportedly told CNN that fracking could be done "safely and sensibly" in the UK and that there is a large supply of energy underneath the surface.
This decision has not gone without further controversy.
"The government and industry's promises of cheap, abundant gas are deluded," Lilly Morse, an activist with the Frack Off campaign group told CNN. She also said that in the U.S., "the gas bubble has already burst" and some companies doing fracking are close to bankruptcy.
"The government's strategy of relying on fracking to fuel a new wave of gas-fired power stations is utterly insane. Fracking is dirty, destructive and extremely expensive, and could never deliver the quantities of gas envisaged," Morse added.
There have been many protests in the U.S. over allowing hydraulic fracturing. Recently, The State of New York delayed making a decision until 2013 whether or not to allow hydraulic fracturing to commence.
While the U.K. has given fracking the green light, France has reportedly banned it despite its "promising" supply located in the country and Germany currently has a ban under a vote, reported the New York Times.
According to The Times report, Europe is the second-largest gas market in the world.
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