A couple weeks ago I went up to The Great Debate‘s Crowd Wise fracking debate up in Newcastle (funded by RAEI) intending to make a day of it, remind myself of the Crowd Wise process and learn something on the fracking debate to speak knowledgeably rather than being without any understanding of the issues.
The Crowd Wise process was stimulating, challenging, highly information and educational 🙂 On my arrival back in Sheffield – c. midnight – I was surprised at my ability to speak far more knowledgeably about fracking with my newly acquired understanding of the issues and concern that the legal framework which permits fracking to go ahead is being put in place despite decisions to reduce fossil fuel consumption.
The key arguments raised at this Crowd Wise event on fracking are in the attached word files, Crowd Wise question and options for shale gas B with related voting options in Newcastle fracking ballot papers which you can read for yourself.
Of particular interest is that we often hear that only 6% of fracking boreholes fail in the context of thousands of boreholes and the untold damage is very significant. An important myth dispelled is that fracking is widely accepted in the States where the issue is primarily only discussed in online social media with very little coverage in mainstream media. The Guardian’s report on US failure to inspect thousands of at-risk oil and gas wells (11 May 2014) finds that
“The [US] government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say. The report, obtained by the Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands.Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data.”
I will be writing more about this – particularly in relation to the Crowd Wise process – which is an excellent method for exploring the complexities of policy making and public engagement.