While Better Together ask Scotland not to break the UK apart most people in Scotland are totally unaware that the Westminster government plans to break Scotland apart as they are currently inviting shale oil and gas companies to frack the Central Belt of Scotland.
According to the Energy Global website, last week, “Scotland is on the verge of an onshore oil and gas exploration boom” as Cuadrilla, Halliburton and three other large companies battle it out to get their hands on DECC exploration licenses in Scotland.
A quick look on the the Department Of Energy & Climate Change website confirmed “On the 28th July 2014, the Energy Minister, Matthew Hancock, invited applications for Licences in the 14th Landward Licensing Round. Applications for Licences will be accepted up to 2.00pm on the 28th October 2014."
A link to a map confirms licenses on offer cover the entire central belt of Scotland. Despite the fact that it is the most densely populated part of Scotland, with 80% of the population, the DECC website reveals not only is the government offering licenses for shale gas and oil exploration but also Coal Bed Methane Exploration, which was subject to a public inquiry in Scotland earlier this year as it is every bit as controversial as fracking.
The licensing areas include Scotland’s capital city Edinburgh as well as the edge of North Berwick, Tranent, Dalkeith, Penicuik, around Edinburgh Airport, Rosyth, Bathgate, Falkirk, Airdrie, Motherwell, Glasgow, Denny Alloa, Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy Glenrothes and Leven.
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Last month the Guardian reported that “The government has been criticised for censoring a report into the impact of shale gas drilling on house prices” but the report did reveal house prices in parts of America fell up to 14% due to nearby drilling operations.
But the reality of the impact on house prices in England is already far worse, with the Daily Mail also reporting last month that in Lancashire one owner’s house value plummeted over 70%, from £750,000 to £190,000, after Cuadrilla proposed a drilling site just 300 yards from her home while “‘Two other estate agents said they would rather not even comment, because the possibility of fracking meant they couldn’t actually say if it was worth anything at all.”
Across England similar stories are being heard with the Daily Mail report explaining a house sale fell through in Blackpool after the prospective buyer discovered fracking plans for the area while DECC and the government’s Valuation Office Agency both continue to try to claim there is no evidence to link fracking with falling house prices.
As well as up to 80% of Scotland having to worry about house prices plummeting when fracking licenses are issued by Westminster another major threat is the real risk of earthquakes as the central belt of Scotland's licensing area is bounded by two fault lines.
Billy Caldwell, a geologist in America, with 50 years experience inspecting oil and gas wells, is reported to have told America’s WFFA News that his research indicates that when the contaminated waste water from the fracking process is re-injected into the disposal wells it may be leaking, lubricating nearby fault lines, causing slippage and earthquakes. His comments were in relation to reports that one town in rural Texas experienced over thirty earthquakes between November 2013 and January 2014 seemingly due to fracking taking place in the area.
Westminster proposes Scotland should be fracked between two known fault lines, despite reports from all over America suggesting fracking processes do cause earthquakes, even in areas that have no record of any earthquakes before.
Worse still, fracking is also suspected of causing major health problems, with the Parr family in America awarded $3million in damages after they started experiencing health issues after fracking operations started less than 2 miles from their farm.
The Parr family and neighbours nearby started experiencing mystery ailments including severe headaches, sickness, rashes and open sores that would not heal, with Mrs Parr experiencing trouble standing and becoming disoriented and Mr Parr developing memory problems, and their daughter waking in the night covered in blood from the severe nosebleeds.
Blood tests revealed Mrs Parr had 20 toxic chemicals in her blood and she quoted one of her doctor’s telling her “move out immediately or I would spend more time and money on hospitalisation, chemotherapy and a mortician”.
And it was not just the people in the area suffering as calves were born deformed and livestock and pets started dying on the family’s farm because of the toxicity of the air, due to the fracking processes nearby.
Local people arranged for the air to be tested, revealing “BTEX - benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene - all colourless but toxic chemicals typically found in petroleum products.”
While the harm in this case was judged to be from toxins in the air caused by fracking operations another major concern is that fracking operations also contaminates our drinking water.
Despite claims today in the Daily Mail that fracking does not contaminate water – it is leaking wells, basing this on a recent report from America, USA Today reported in January this year “4 states confirm water pollution from drilling” so regardless of whether it is the fracking operation or leaking wells it is conclusive groundwater we drink is being contaminated when fracking comes to town.
Does the Westminster government have the right to even contemplate issuing fracking exploration licenses for the most densely populated area of Scotland, when it could result in plummeting house prices due to fracking's suspected links to earthquakes, poisonous air and contaminated drinking water?
Scotland will decide.