Peaceful demonstration outside Environment Agency fracking meeting

Members of a number of Yorkshire anti-fracking groups, including Frack Free Ryedale, Frack Free North Yorkshire and Frack Free York are staging a peaceful static demonstration on today, Friday 9th January, from 9.30am to 12.30pm. The demonstration is outside the York offices of the Environment Agency, Coverdale House, Amy Johnson Way, Clifton Moor, York, YO30 4UZ.

This demonstration is timed to publicise a secret meeting between the Environment Agency and fracking company Third Energy, which is due to take place at the above offices from between 10.00am to 12.00pm. This is a meeting to ‘specifically discuss Halliburton’s hydraulic fracturing products, which are proposed to be submitted as part of Third Energy’s permit application for KM-8.’

KM-8 is the well at Kirby Misperton, between Malton and Pickering in Ryedale. Third Energy announced on 24/11/14 that they intend to apply for permission to commence fracking at this well-site.

There are a number of issues that we wish to raise with this demonstration:

What’s in the fracking fluid?

Fracking involves injecting fracking fluid, which is a mixture of water, sand and chemicals, into shale rock under very high pressure in order to fracture the rock and release the methane gas that is trapped within it. Typically 20%-40% of this fracking fluid is returned to the surface and needs to be disposed of, while the remaining fluid is left underground.

Anti-fracking groups all around the UK are very concerned about the dangers this process poses to the environment and our water supplies, in particular possible air pollution and contamination to the water supply caused by the chemicals that are added to the fracking fluid. Third Energy claim in their Residents’ Brochure, which has been distributed to landowners and some residents near the KM-8 site, that ‘The additives are commonly used substances that are non-hazardous and are typically found in most homes – many of them in food and toiletries’.

Frack Free Ryedale are filing a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority about Third Energy’s Residents’ Brochure, in particular about the claim that the fracking fluid only contained ‘non-hazardous’ chemicals. A similar complaint against fracking company Cuadrilla was upheld in 2013 (see point 11 in the ASA’s summary)

“People in Ryedale simply do not believe Third Energy’s claims that all the chemicals in their fracking fluid are ‘non-hazardous’. We call on the company to publish a full and complete list of all the chemicals they propose to use in the flow-test at Kirby Misperton.”

“Just because a chemical can be found in your home does not mean it is safe to human health. Most people are happy to keep cleaning products under their sink, but would not be happy pouring them into their kettle.”

“Frack Free Ryedale strongly dispute Third Energy’s claim that all the chemicals in the fracking fluid can be considered ‘non-hazardous’ and have repeatedly called on Third Energy to release details of the specific chemicals that they plan to put in their fracking fluid for KM-8. So far they have failed to do so.” Chris Redstone – Frack Free Ryedale

Third Energy’s connection with Halliburton

We are very concerned that Third Energy are working in conjunction with Halliburton in their preparations to frack in Ryedale. Halliburton have a very dubious reputation for safety worldwide, and were fined $1.1 billion for their part in the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010. As recently as June 28th, 2014, Halliburton were responsible for a devastating spill of fracking chemicals in Monroe County, Ohio, which polluted the nearby river and killed over 70,000 fish.

“I imagine that the people of Ryedale will not be reassured by the revelation that the company who was partly responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster is involved in Third Energy’s attempts to frack in Kirby Misperton.”

“We would like to ask Third Energy to reveal the true extent of their involvement with Halliburton. Are they simply purchasing barrels of fracking chemicals from them, and if so, what chemicals are they buying? Or will Halliburton be involved in performing the frack itself?” Russell Scott – Frack Free North Yorkshire

The Environment Agency and its investment in fossil fuels

On 28th December 2014 it was revealed in the Independent on Sunday that the Environment Agency’s £2.3bn pension fund invests in companies investing in fracking, incineration and nuclear power, all of which the Agency is involved in regulating.

The Environment Agency has major investments in Barclays, the bank which owns 97% of Third Energy, the company that wants to frack at Kirby Misperton.

The EA is also invested in two companies that are financially connected to fracking giant Cuadrilla, the company that has been the subject of fierce protests in Lancashire and West Sussex. The first is Centrica, which is investing £60m in Cuadrilla’s Lancashire operations and the second is Riverstone Energy, which owns 44 per cent of Cuadrilla. They also have a major stake in French company Total, which announced plans to invest $50m (£32m) in licences backed by fracking companies IGas, Dart Energy and partner Egdon Resources earlier this year.

For further details on the EA’s links with the fossil fuel industry, please see:


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