It’s clear that we should be reducing fossil fuel use, yet the government is encouraging the industry.
The government must ban onshore oil and gas exploration which uses acid stimulation treatments, according to a new report from Friends of the Earth.
The report, entitled ‘The Acid Test: The Case for a Ban on Acid Stimulation of Oil and Gas Wells’, explains what acid stimulation is, highlights key concerns, and makes recommendations including a call for a full independent assessment of the health and environmental impacts of acid well stimulation.
The campaigners call for a ban due to gaps in knowledge about the chemicals being used, the risks related to oil and gas exploration, and the need to avoid climate chaos.
Friends of the Earth said that many of the risks associated with fracking are similar when it comes to acid stimulation of wells. These include risks of groundwater, air and soil contamination from the chemicals, risks for human health, and risk of earth tremors.
There are also the same issues regarding the industrialisation of rural areas with increased heavy goods traffic, noise and how the waste fluids coming from these sites are being monitored and dealt with.
Recent concerns about an increased number of earthquakes near two oil sites in Surrey led to four senior geologists calling for a moratorium until the cause of these have been established.
Brenda Pollack, South East campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “Residents are right to be worried about the increasing use of acid well stimulation to produce oil and gas in this area. There are a lot of unknowns about the quantities and type of chemicals being used and where they end up.
“It’s clear that we should be reducing fossil fuel use, yet the government is encouraging the industry. Plans to fast-track shale gas operations could have implications here in the Weald basin which is a known shale oil area.”
Marianne Brooker is a contributing editor for The Ecologist. This article is based on a press release from Friends of the Earth. A full briefing can be read here.