Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 26 April 2011
A lobby group opposed to hydraulic fracturing as a mining technique has dismissed media reports this morning, which stated that Shell’s fracking application for the Karoo would continue to be heard.
A report in the Cape Times this morning claimed a moratorium announced by Cabinet last week had no impact on existing applications for fracking licenses, and that it rather only affected new applications.
“It is absurd for anyone to suggest that Cabinet intended anything other than what is clearly described in the press release that was issued last Thursday,” said TKAG national coordinator Jonathan Deal. A press release said that Cabinet had, “… endorsed the decision by the Department of Minerals to invoke a moratorium on licenses in the Karoo where fracking is proposed.”
“The statements attributed to the Department of Minerals spokesperson Bheki Khumalo today would serve only to rubbish the clear written directions from Cabinet, as described in their press release,” said Deal
Dr Luke Havemann, specialist energy attorney and author of a critical review of the Shell environmental management plan, commented that, “It would be illogical for the moratorium to only apply to new applications and for the current applications that are before the regulator (PASA) and the department to be considered and possibly approved.
“It would be a foolish step to appoint a multi-disciplinary task team to delve into the issue of environmental degradation yet simultaneously allow for hydraulic fracturing to be authorised and undertaken. Such an approach would not amount to a risk-averse and cautious approach and as such would constitute a breach of a cardinal principle of our environmental law.
“It follows that the relevant task team must complete a comprehensive assessment of the risks posed by fracking before any decision can be made in relation to any application for authorisation to conduct hydraulic fracturing, and therefore that the intention of Cabinet’s vote is absolutely clear in putting a halt to fracking at this time,” said Havemann.
[ABOUT TKAG – Treasure the Karoo Action group has emerged as the co-ordinating body, representative of a broad range of stakeholders who are concerned with the plans of Oil and Mining companies to extract shale gas from the Karoo basin. Popular support can be followed and joined on Facebook and at www.treasurethekaroo.blogspot.com ]
Issued by HWB Communications (Pty) Ltd on behalf of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group. For more information contact:
Tel 076 838 5150/ 023 358 9902
Tel 079 500 1503/ 021 462 0416