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karoo_images Opinion

Whilst the pro-fracking lobby in South Africa has ramped up its efforts to ostracize environmental advocates for allegedly ‘standing in the way of the poor’ and Royal Dutch Shell continue their unabashed marketing of shale gas to the rural impoverished people, the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency has announced yet another extention to its internationally publicized investigation into the effects of shale gas mining. Jeanne Briskin, coordinator of hydraulic fracturing research at the EPA’s office of research and development stated on Tuesday 18: “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is analyzing the threat that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, poses to drinking water, but that study won’t be completed until 2016.”

In these circumstances, one may pose the question, “If the US, despite all of the so-called benefits that it has experienced as a result of shale gas mining is unwilling to give the process a green light in terms of environmental damage, water pollution and public health, can there be a sensible argument for the licencing of exploration or mining of shale gas in South Africa?” In South Africa, the legislative status quo favours protection of the environment in the case of known risks with uncertain outcomes. The onus, one might concede, is thus for a company pushing the introduction of this process to South Africa to provide more justification than an inappropriately modeled economic projection and a set of ‘promises’ to the residents of the Karoo.
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In case there was any doubt about the power and influence of the oil and gas industry
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SA communities speaking out and gearing up to challenge fracking
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Massive investment counted on the back of gas exploration in SA, but no attempt to quantify costs
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New study finds ethane, propane and methane in water wells close to shale gas drilling
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Deputy President Motlanthe favours fracking in the Karoo
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