The Status Of Fracking In Scotland

imagesIt just came to my attention that last night Earth experienced an earthquake just down the road from my home in Colorado. This quake measured 4.2 on the Richter scale and the likely cause of the shake is the practice of hydraulically (using water) fracturing the rock deep in the earth to facilitate collection and removal of various forms of natural gas. Everyone calls it “fracking” and it is a very hot topic all across America. The largest ever recorded earthquake in Colorado occurred in 2011 at 5.7 on the scale and is now acknowledged to have been caused by fracking. It’s happening more often.

Many environmentalists and those who claim to have been adversely affected by past fracking are aggressively on the attack warning of an array of environmental disasters that await the fracking society. The chemicals used are toxic, the water use is extremely high and the overall specter of increasing carbon based climate change makes large investments in gas recovery via hydraulic fracturing a bad bet they say. Then there are the earthquakes. Meanwhile fracking proponents see the potential for big boosts to local drilling economies, a more stable and secure energy resource for the nation and of course big profits for the extended oil and gas industry.

images 2Fracking is a Scottish problem too.

So which side is right? It turns out that people are asking this very same question around the globe, including in Scotland right now. Industry wants to frack Scotland and they have said so. Licenses for drilling have been issued. Responding to a very vocal anti-fracking grassroots lobby, last January the Scottish Government announced an indefinite ban on fracking in Scotland. We also know that Scottish First Minister and Deputy First Minister met with the big frackers, particularly the oil and gas company Ineos, on the very day that the Scottish moratorium was announced. Ineos sees big profits in fracking Scotland and they have not been shy about that. The fracking ban in Scotland is likely to last only so long as it takes for a national debate to occur and then the matter will be back on the table.

images 3England’s Frack-O-Rama.

Presently south of the border in England its a frack-a-thon as David Cameron just opened up an additional approximately 1,000 square miles to the opportunity for drilling and a plan to fast track industry applications. The oil and gas industry has plenty to do in England presently to hold them over during the dry spell in Scotland.

frack off mapYou might be a bit concerned about where your own clan or family ancestral lands fit into Scotland’s terrestrial fossil fuel plans. Check out this cool interactive map to discover if your ancestral clan or family lands are in danger of disturbance from this extreme and extremely controversial energy practice.

A Poll!  A Poll! 

So how about a wee ScotClans family poll? If you have an opinion sound off with a comment below. Where do you stand on the question of Scottish fracking?  “Frack Free” or “Drill Baby Drill”?  Should Scotland keep the Fracking Ban or ditch it?  Does it worry you in terms of ancestral lands? Do you think that Scotland is missing out on an economic windfall if it decides to ban fracking for good?  Join the discussion as we follow along with a very important issue for our ancestral homeland.



7 thoughts on “The Status Of Fracking In Scotland

  1. rodger moffet

    I grew up in two places: Mostly in West Lothian and spent the summers in Wanlockhead in Dumfriesshire. The landscape of West Lothian was dominated by the ‘brings’ – large spoil heaps the size of the great pyramids, a legacy from the days of Paraffin Young and the shale oil industry. Some of these spoil heaps were still burning at their heart and entering onto them was dangerous with sulphurous fumes etc. (there were stories of people going missing there) Wanlockhead was an amazingly picturesque village in the Louther hills. There had been lead mining in the area going back to Roman times and the large scale lead mine that dominated the village closed in 1953. Mine workings were so close to the surface that people could hear the pick axes of the miners while sat at home in the evenings. The ground would give way regularly and sink holes or ‘rushed shafts’ as we called them would appear, the locals would use them as landfill and all manner of unwanted items would be deposited there (one i remember had a 1950s car in it along with washing machines and broken furniture).

    Having grown up with the ‘spoils’ of what is supposed to be a more environmentally friendly version of extracting mineral wealth I have to say that fracking scares the bejesus out of me. Show me an industrial process that doesn’t lead to the cutting of corners for gain – even that where the stakes are global catastrophe (nuclear) are not immune.

    Then again we could be spending more time trying to reduce our dependancy on fossil fuels (I’m looking at you USA)

  2. Sandra B.

    Fracking has caused propane gas, etc. to infiltrate the fresh water supply in Texas. People have turned on the faucet for a glass of water while smoking a cigarette and had an explosion of lighted gas from the faucet. If sea water were used in Scotland for fracking, wouldn’t it foul the fresh drinking water also. I think fracking is too dangerous.

  3. West McCollum

    Hello. I appreciate concerns about the fracking in ancestral lands and/or any lands for that manner. I’ve lived in Louisiana, California, Wyoming, Texas, Tennessee, Germany, Hawaii, Washington (state), North Carolina, Colorado, S. Korea, Iraq, Qatar, and Alaska. I now live in Texas again. I worked 8 years in the oil field in Wyoming in the 80’s. My daughter is a 4th generation petroleum worker (Advanced Geologist – the smartest of us all 🙂 ). My father was a Petroleum Engineer and worked for oil field service companies that were fracking the same fields in the 1950’s that are currently being fracked in West Texas by the company my daughter works for in Midland, TX. Only they’re drilling about 5K feet deeper and much faster.

    There have been small earthquakes in the Dallas and surrounding region in the past few years as well as in regions of the world where there has not been any drilling or fracking of any kind.

    I may be biased because of my background, but most of the energy industry are environmental responsible and despise those who give the industry a bad name in that regard. I’ve seen a huge improvement since the 80’s when I worked in the ‘patch”

    I work at a natural gas powered power plant. There are 2 employees here that previously worked for GE, building and maintaining large wind turbines. They told us that the only way GE would make money in the wind turbine business is through the gov’t subsidies. The turbines cost more to build and maintain than they will ever make producing power. I hate the site of them on the horizon of our beautiful plains and hillsides as well. The corporation I work for buys wind power from GE and our management confirmed this information as well.

    Please look at all side of each argument. If fracking is proved to endanger precious lands, I’m all for working harder to speed up the process for a better way to power our homes, vehicles and gadgets. Right now, coal, gas, and oil are the least expensive and most efficient way to provide us humans with the lifestyle we enjoy.

    I found beauty in every place of the world I have ever been. I hate pollution and trash. I hope all companies, corporations, individuals are held to account for any molestation of God’s wonderful creation he left for us all to enjoy. We must all be responsible stewards of our piece of the earth we can. All things are here for our use, but we must be wise in that use.

    West McCollum

  4. Andrea Floyd

    Listen to the people that have to live with the toxic consequences of fracking, not the people trying to sell it to you. If you were in the USA, you would see the devastating results.

  5. Mark Foster

    Greetings from the San Francisco Bay Area of California…a place that has known an earthquake or two!

    I love the way the article started… an earthquake with the “likely cause” as fracking and fracking is a “bad bet they say.” No evidence, no source(s) for the information, just assumptions and hearsay. That is “truth” based purely on an emotional response, hearsay, and assumption of “facts” that are not provided. I am not a fracking proponent nor opponent but I am a proponent of evidence based information.

    Our planet’s surface is made up of tectonic plates (fact). The plates move and we get earthquakes (fact). We had earthquakes before oil drilling or fracking and we will have earthquakes if all drilling, mining, fracking, or whatever were to stop today.
    If fracking destroys and pollutes, let’s put a stop to it… but please prove it with more than “likely cause” or “It’s a bad bet they say.”

    • Susan McIntosh Post author

      Hello Mark and thank you for your comment! Very much appreciate your hunt for certainty on these issues. The issues surrounding hydraulic fracturing are still highly controversial. I have not found that much is settled and almost every aspect of the activity is still subject to debate. There actually is some science behind the assertion that activities associated with fracking are causing earthquakes. Here is a quick article on the 2011 Colorado earthquake – the largest in the state for a century – drawing a scientifically based conclusion that the quake was most likely caused by fracking injection wells.

  6. Ann-Marie MacKenzie

    I say NO to fracking. When will they ever learn? Only when something bad happens in their own backyards or when the environmental consequences are irreversible, I suppose.


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