5 – Fracking Operations, Impacts and Mitigation Measures

– You can join in the discussion, please leave a comment below –

Proposed (P6): “This work package should examine potential environmental impacts of UGEE on groundwater and other water bodies, including methane and chemical and other contaminant migration, both from surface as well as subsurface potential sources. Findings should be informed by an objective assessment of the risks and hazards posed by UGEE, supported by a literature review and experience from other jurisdictions…”
First reaction
Too narrow.  The above statement refers to the hydraulic fracturing stage of operations and does not encompass the impact on the environment of the life cycle of UGEE.  This is a critical flaw throughout the whole proposal for research.  Research Area number 3, which refers to “Life Cycle Assessment” actually describes a carbon emission impact analysis.
Many international studies have focussed on hydraulic fracturing to the exclusion of the other stages of UGEE.  This has been recently criticised by Professsor Ingraffea, a renowned opponent of and expert on fracking.  “People don’t think of everything that happens before and after (hydraulic fracturing). That’s much more risky to human health and the environment. #  The proposed Terms of Reference make the same mistake.
Possible discussion points
  1. Widen the scope of the Terms of Reference in this section to include the whole life cycle of UGEE.
  2. Change the title of research area 3 to “Carbon Emission assessment”.
  3. Research area 4: Remove reference to chemical-free UGEE.  This is not credible and not supported by any independent study.
  4. The topic of “Best practice in self-regulation” should be deleted.


  1. Brian Mac Muiris says:

    I fully agree with your comments that Proposal 6 is too narrow in its remit. It is essential that the climate impact of exploiting this gas resource be considered. Both the impacts of potential methane leaks along with the affect of burning this gas as a carbon source.

    One question, would it be appropriatefor the EPA to look at the potential affects the opening up of this resource would have on the energy market in the country. Could it be a disincentive to developing renewables in the country?

  2. I really do think it is essential that the message is sent out that we need to start considering the fact we can only burn a third of proven fossil fuel reserves if we have any hopes of restricting global temperature increases to within the 2oC mark.

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