Cuadrilla's drilling permit questioned

Sept. 6, 2013 at 8:29 AM

LONDON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- British energy company Cuadrilla Resources may be operating outside the terms of its existing permits, an environmental advocacy group said.

Cuadrilla says it is drilling a conventional well during its exploration campaign in Balcbombe, a village in West Sussex, England. The company this week said it pulled an application for a six-month extension to its oil exploration operations and would file a new application for drilling.

"The new application will cover the same well testing that is in the currently permitted activity but will include revised planning boundary lines showing the extent of the horizontal well being tested," it said Wednesday. "It will not include additional drilling or any hydraulic fracturing."

Friends of the Earth said it raised its concerns to the West Sussex County Council about Cuadrilla's existing planning permission.

"The environment charity says that if the new application was withdrawn because it was flawed, then it's highly likely the existing permission is too," it said in a statement Thursday.

Cuadrilla has been the target of protests by activists concerned its operations may be a prelude to a hydraulic fracturing campaign. Some of the chemicals used in a process called fracking are viewed as a threat to groundwater supplies.

West Sussex police said Thursday they arrested a protester after he "threatened to urinate on police officers and super-glued himself to [a] metal structure" near the drilling site.

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