British lawmakers take up fracking policy

Lawmakers are set to review a notice last week stating that shale natural gas development is in the national interest.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  May 21, 2018 at 6:06 AM
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May 21 (UPI) -- British ministers are set to review whether or not guidance on domestic hydraulic fracturing is up to day, the British Parliament said Monday.

Dominic Raab, the British minister for local governance, and Claire Perry, the minister for energy and clean energy, take up the session late Monday (GMT) to consider whether guidance for local authorities weighing applications for hydraulic fracturing need improvement.

"Members of the committee will have the chance to put to the ministers evidence heard so far on whether existing guidance is adequate and whether there is a need for a comprehensive guidance document," a parliamentary notice read.

The hearing follows Thursday's notice from British Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark that said shale natural gas is "of national importance."

The British economy has typically relied on North Sea resources, but maturation issues and aging infrastructure have highlighted a need for diversity. Imports are on pace to account for 72 percent of British gas by 2030, compared with 53 percent last year.

According to the trade group U.K. Onshore Oil and Gas, total British energy production has been on decline for nearly two decades. Imports, meanwhile, cost more than $17 million a day in money the group said wasn't generating tax revenue for the British economy.

In response to Clark's letter to Parliament last week, UKOOG said the planning process for hydraulic fracturing, more commonly known as fracking, isn't functioning as designed. The parliamentary notice Monday said committee members are likely to raise their own questions on fracking policy stemming from Clark's notice.

Cuadrilla Resources is the domestic pioneer in British fracking, saying last year there is no benchmark yet for drilling into shale basins in the country.

The government in 2016 published a 600-page ruling that said shale natural gas work in the country was a national interest, moving in favor of the industry. Local councils have been frustrated by the process and last week, the British Friends of the Earth said the government was perverting the planning process to make the British landscape "a wild west for whatever cowboy wants to start drilling and digging up our countryside."

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