One story that the major news media seems to have missed was that of a recent set of shale gas protests in rural Romania against the actions of the US owned firm Chevron. It would seem Chevron decided to start fracking on peoples land (or even back gardens!) without making any effort to consult with them first nor offer any sort of compensation.
Naturally this made them none too popular with the locals who proceeded to make a bit of a fuss, blocking roads and occupying sites. With the international media starting to sniff around and realising they were sitting on a bit of a PR disaster, Chevron responded by going around handing out flyers explaining why having a shale gas well in your back yard is kind of swell.
It would seem to be yet another example of an all too typical tale. Representatives of a corporation show up with a truck load of money outside the door step of some impoverished government. In return for which they get Carte Blanche to do whatever they want in said country. Inevitably this leads to exploitation and repression of local communities and destruction of the environment. A good example is the actions of Chevrons in Ecuador and the toxic legacy they’ve left behind. Here they began using drilling practices and waste disposal techniques that were illegal in the US causing enormous harm to the Jungle environment.
It also shows us yet another reason to oppose fracking in the UK or US. Although at least in the US if a shale gas well explodes you get a free pizza!
Another factor related to shale gas fracking has been the level of methane leakage from such wells. Given that methane is an extremely potent greenhouse gas any significant leakage of methane would represent a significant level of greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed some worry that shale gas might be worse than coal as far as overall greenhouse gas emissions. Recent evidence now points to the possibility that the leakage levels have been significantly underestimated…by as much as 50%!
There are in short, many reasons for opposing shale gas drilling and pursuing alternatives to fossil fuels. Climate change is one, the destruction of the environment another. But the corrupt dirty politics of these industries is clearly one of them.