Frontbencher from the Labour Party, Tom Greatrex, called on the government. Mr Greatrex asked for the baseline levels of methane in ground water to be monitored. Here is what he had to say:
”Given that ground water can contain methane naturally, could you explain why it is, more than two and a half years after it being raised with your predecessors, it’s still the case the regulations do not include the baseline monitoring of methane in ground water, given that some of the concerns from the US and elsewhere is of contamination in that way?”.
Mr. Greatrex went on further to say “surely it’s important now that we have that as part of the regulation to ensure confidence in the regulatory regime for shale gas?”
Michael Fallon replied to Greatrex’s statement, claiming that there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that hydraulic fracturing can result in a risk of ground water contamination. However, the subject has not been dismissed completely. The government has set plans to make fracking for shale gas easier in Britain.
Here is what Mr. Fallon had to say: “There are no examples from the United States of hydraulic fracturing contaminating ground water because as you will appreciate the fracturing takes place very much deeper than any ground water levels.
However Mr. Fallon said that he would be “very happy” to look at the specific point that Mr. Greatrex mentioned regarding baseline monitoring.
Hydraulic fracturing is also referred to as fracking. The process includes the use of various ground water testing equipment. It begins by drilling straight down with the occasional turning horizontally. The objective is to reach miles underground to tiny pockets or cracks in shale rock. This is where gas molecules are locked away. Water is then pumped down to where these molecules are, so that the pockets widen, therefore releasing the gas so that it will rise to the surface. This is seen as beneficial as it is reliable and cheaper alternative method of supplying gas to energy companies, rather than having it imported from other countries.
However, this method is seen by many as very dangerous as it may trigger minor earthquakes and could leave water contaminated with methane gas and chemicals. This is why Tom Greatrex on behalf of the Labour Party has asked for ground water monitoring to be put in place, to monitor harmful chemicals that could potentially pollute the water. Many people have campaigned against the fracking method, claiming that it is too harmful. They believe that money could be invested in an alternative renewable source of energy, for example wind power.