Fracking fears

Recent correspondence concerning the contentious issue of fracking have been dismissive of the legitimate and very reasonable concerns of many people.

All the objections to fracking have not been “authoritatively dismissed”, as Robert Dow asserts (Letters, 21 August). Ongoing research by scientists in the US has identified multiple areas of risk, to which we in Britain should pay close heed. A typical fracking operation uses between two and eight million gallons of water. At the high end, that’s enough to fill 12 Olympic swimming pools – hardly an insignificant amount, as Mr Dow claims.   

The 1 per cent of the fluid that contains chemical compounds packs a powerful punch: one report released in 2011 revealed that, from 2005 to 2009, 14 major gas and oil companies used a whopping 750 chemicals in their fracking fluids. Of these, 25 are listed as hazardous pollutants, none are regulated under the US safe drinking water act, and 14 are either known or possible human carcinogens.

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A study carried out in Menlo Park, California, by William Ellsworth, of the US Geological Survey, revealed a massive increase in earthquakes in the area between 2001 and 2011 was linked to fracking, caused not by the drilling process, but by the injection of waste water under high pressure into designated wells. He describes our current approach to fracking as an “ambulance-chasing mode where we’re coming in after the fact.” We need to be very sure of the facts before we inflict unacceptable risks on a vulnerable public.

Carolyn Taylor

Gagiebank, Wellbank

Broughty Ferry, Dundee