Fracking in New Zealand Is Bad For Our Environment

Fracking Is An Earthquake Risk, Yet It Has Been OKayed For Christchurch, NZ, a place where several serious and devastating earthquakes have already occurred.

The word ‘fracking’ itself, which is very like the word ‘fucking’, conjures up an image of violence and abuse. And violence and abuse are most certainly what fracking is delivering to the earth. Poor Mother Earth is being fracked upon.

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Thankyou ’60 Minutes’, TVNZ Channel 3, 18 March, 2012, with Mike Roberts and Guyon Espiner, for bringing us some insights into the fracking of New Zealand.

What is Hydraulic Fracturing? It is a process which involves high pressure pumping of water and chemicals into rock deep in the ground. It is used by the exploiters of the earth, for the purpose of extracting oil and other minerals which lie metres down in the rock, well below the top-soil.

Fracking has been banned in several countries because of the potential environmental hazards it poses, which range from the inducement of earthquakes, to pollution of the air and water by methane, and other chemicals. France does not allow fracking at all. Some states in Australia have banned it. Of the ten countries which have allowed fracking, SEVEN have now either banned it, or put regional bans on the practice, according to TV3 news 20th March 2012. New Zealand is one of the last countries to continue the practice of fracking despite the warnings against it by learned environmentalists and researchers.

Fracking in New Zealand should not be allowed, as it will cause obvious damage to the environment. At the moment, it is pretty much a free-for-all, as companies don’t even have to have resource consent to begin fracking on someone’s land.

One woman interviewed, a dairy farmer who had previously thought that fracking was OK, did not even know that fracking was being carried out on the property neighbouring hers, until she smelt vapours in the air which reminded her of nail polish remover. Since becoming aware of the fracking next door, she has stopped drinking the water, even though council have tested it and declared it to be safe. Her senses tell her that chemicals ARE in fact polluting her environment, and so, rather than wait for it to be proven, she is avoiding contamination as much as possible.

This same dairy farmer also reported the ground shaking so badly, that she thought there was an earthquake. Her share-milker was also disturbed by the shaking from the fracking, and thought that an earthquake may have struck. That is, until they found out that the very cause of the shaking of the ground was coming just over the fence, several hundred metres away, from the fracking going on there which they had previously been unaware of.

The pollution of drinking water in the regions where fracking is carried out is one undesirable fact about fracking. A scientist who believes fracking to be destructive to the environment was interviewed on ’60 Minutes’ tonight. He said that, even though the chemical pocess and rupturing took place deep down in the earth, the methane still found its way into drinking water, because it moved up through the fissures in the rock, and so got carried into the water.

So slowly, with the government approving more fracking sites to be opened up to mining companies, the whole of our environment will suffer because of fracking pollution. The damage will slowly grow, in combination with other assaults on the NZ environment, like a cancer, so that in the end, living organisms of any kind will find it hard to flourish here.

And, of course, fracking can also trigger earthquakes, which is another very good reason why fracking should not be persisted in, in New Zealand. We are a high-risk country when it comes to earthquakes. Research on several sites overseas which are earthquake-prone has shown that earthquakes have been induced immediately after the fracking procedure.

So far, there is no evidence to show that fracking, which has been carried out in Taranaki for the past 13 years, has caused any earthquakes there. However, that is no reassurance that the fracking done there has not caused a disturbance of the earth’s crust, and possibly affected other areas which are earthquake-prone. Just because there have been no earthquakes in Taranaki, which is not an earthquake risk, does not mean that the earth is immune to the destruction and abuse being carried out upon it.

As Guyon Espiner said on NZ 60 Minutes tonight, Christchurch has suddenly become a very high-risk city in terms of earthquakes. “We never knew about the fault lines there beforehand”, he said. There have not been earthquakes in Christchurch for many years, and now suddenly, after two major earthquakes in the past 18 months, small earthquakes occur there almost every day. But the government has approved the plan for overseas companies to begin fracking in the Canterbury area, of which Christchurch is the capital city. This is the very region currently being affected by earthquakes.

The Christchurch council is trying to stop the fracking developers in the Canterbury region. The proof that fracking can encourage earthquakes is shown by the following statistics, which only represent a small portion of the actual effects, in my estimation:

12 minor earthquakes around magnitude 2.7 and 4 in Ohio – Fracking is believed to have caused these.

On an economic level, fracking still does not make any sense for New Zealand, when it actually increases the risk of earthquakes. So far, the Christchurch earthquake is supposed to have caused billions of dollars of damage. There is not a ceiling on the billions of dollars still needed to restore Christchurch so that it functions once more as a hsopitable place for its citizens.

The income expected from fracking is around 13 billion dollars, with about 3500 jobs being created here in the industry. But 13 billion dollars is simply a drop in the ocean when it comes to the damage more earthquakes could do to Christchurch and its environs. It is simply not worth the risk to continue fracking anywhere in NZ, when there is proof that fracking DOES cause earthquakes in some areas. And as far as those jobs go, the government could create 3500 more jobs which care for the environment, rather than have 3500 workers paid to be doing something destructive. The destructive fracking process, and in fact, any mining at all, is going to cause more damage in the end result, the cost of which will far far exceed any short-term benefits gained.

oil and gas vital to taranaki says one man – not so – the damage caused by fracking, especially if it causes earthquakes, will be far, far greater in economic terms alone than the paltry 13 billion which fracking companies are expected to bring to New Zealand. – so far something like 200 billion dollars is the estimated amount needed to recover christchurch

Auckland uni researcher even indicated there were risks. She has worked for oil companies before.

Can induce earthquakes

No resource consent – council did not require one in Taranaki

Banned in France and Bulgaria

Methane gets into the water, despite the process being done several hundred metres under the ground. The methane finds its way up through fissures in the rock once it has been released by the fracking process.


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