Wednesday, 4 June 2014

"Allowing fracking companies to drill on private land without first requiring a landowner’s permission." or................ "Neighborhood Environmentalism: Toward Democratic Energy"

It will be easier for energy companies to drill on private land:
Queen's Speech: IoD calls for trespass laws to be scrapped for fracking - Telegraph
U.K. Government Proposes Law to Make Shale-Gas Drilling Easier - Businessweek

There have already been protests:
David Cameron's house 'fracked' by protesters - Telegraph

Frack Free Somerset angry over new fracking bill announced in Queen's Speech

By Western Daily Press | Posted: June 04, 2014

Frack Free Somerset angry over new fracking bill announced in Queen's Speech

The Queen’s Speech revealed a bill which will make it easier for fracking to take place across the country.

The bill aims to change trespass laws to allow unconventional gas exploration companies to drill on private land without first requiring a landowner’s permission. Fracking companies would still need planning permission to drill for shale gas, but the new bill would enable them to install pipes to transport gas under private land.

But South West organsation Frack Free Somerset is hugely opposed to the bill as they feel it removes the laws which protects ordinary people from their land being affected.

Greenpeace also made a stand against the proposal by demonstrating outside David Cameron’s house in the Cotswolds near Oxford yesterday monring.

Following the speech Frack Free Somerset said: “We regard the government’s bill as cynically designed to remove laws that protect ordinary people and to increase the profits of big business and ministers with vested interests. It follows complaints made last August against leading fracking company, Cuadrilla, when it was forced to settle legal action with at least one Lancashire homeowner.

“Although affected landowners may be compensated, Frack Free Somerset believes that this will be insufficient to address the severe impacts on water, soil and air quality, and on human and livestock health, which scientific research in the US and Australia demonstrates to be caused by fracking. Fracking has no democratic mandate in the UK, with polls showing less than 50 per cent of the population now in favour of this harmful technology.”

But despite the opposition the Government is pushing for the development of a shale gas industry in the UK, claiming it would create jobs and growth, reduce energy prices and cut the country’s reliance on gas imports.

Opponents have raised fears the process causes earthquakes, and can pollute water supplies, lead to inappropriate development in the countryside and damage house prices.

Government plans payouts for fracking under homes in areas including Wiltshire
Fracking under Somerset land could be made easier by change to trespass law, admits Ed Davey
Anti-fracking movement gathering momentum in the South West, says Greenpeace

Frack Free Somerset angry over new fracking bill announced in Queen's Speech | Western Daily Press

There is the wider question of whether this amounts to giving private companies should have the powers under 'eminent domain' or 'compulsory purchase':

Eminent domain (United States, the Philippines), compulsory purchase (United Kingdom, New Zealand, Ireland), resumption (Hong Kong), resumption/compulsory acquisition (Australia), or expropriation (South AfricaCanada) is the power to take private property for public use by a state or national government. 

However, it can be legislatively delegated by the state to municipalities, government subdivisions, or even private persons or corporations when they are authorized to exercise functions of public character.[1]

Eminent domain - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It's certainly a big debate in the United States:
Fracking: the role of eminent domain | Other Views | NewsObserver.com
Center for a Stateless Society » One Reason Not to Build the Keystone XL Pipeline: Justice
No Eminent Domain For Private Gain
Feds Pave Way for Fracking Industry to Perpetrate Biggest Land Grab in U.S. History | Stuart H. Smith
Eminent Domain: Laws and Loopholes that Benefit Fracking and Pipeline Companies | Food & Water Watch
Eminent Domain Used to Push Big Oil’s Agenda | EcoWatch

What's the alternative? 

Rather than large out-of-area companies proposing energy solutions...
Futures Forum: Solar Plan for Sidmouth: a second application stalls as subsidies are questioned...

... what about local ownership and control of energy resources?
Futures Forum: SidEnergy latest: launch of Share Offer: Weds 18th June
Futures Forum: Relocalisation
Futures Forum: The Big Community Energy Weekend: invitation to Exeter: Sat 17th & Sun 18th May
Futures Forum: Balcombe: making a community self-sufficient in electricity
Futures Forum: What are the most efficient forms of energy.. at a local level?

Here is a slightly different take on the debate:

Neighborhood Environmentalism: Toward Democratic Energy
 | June 3rd, 2014
As a boy in the southeast African nation of Malawi, William Kamkwamba harnessed the wind.  In 2002, drought and famine — common problems in one of the world’s least-developed countries — forced the boy and his family to forage for food and water as thousands starved. 

William Kamkwamba: How I built a windmill | Talk Video | TED.com

Kamkwamba, however, knew if he could build a windmill he would bring water and electricity to his family. So he pulled together scrap metal, tractor parts and bicycles, constructing a peculiar, but functioning, windmill. The contraption was viewed as a miracle — it powered four lights and turned a water pump that ameliorated the crisis. News of his “electric wind” spread quickly and was emulated. 

William Kamkwamba, author, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," and Malawi Windmill Maker: About my Book: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Kamkwamba’s story is one of democratic energy and neighborhood environmentalism. Access to information left the boy free to replicate the science of windmills. After construction, his work spread throughout the region. This is a prime example of social power. The boy who harnessed the wind is testament to the power of two ideas: Open source content and co-operative labor. 

It is this kind of market approach, not sweeping policy from a centralized authority, that will meet the demands of the 21st century.

Take the newly proposed United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulation that aims to reduce carbon emissions. Hailed as a historic action, its mechanisms leave much to be desired.

Target emission reductions will be set for individual states. To meet these targets, states could renovate existing coal-fired power plants with “clean burning” technology — but clean coal is a dirty lie. States could switch to natural gas which produces less carbon — but natural gas emits methane at 21 times the greenhouse impact of carbon dioxide. State incentives to residents to be more energy-efficient are low hanging fruit that can do much, but alone cannot likely get the job done. Or states can work under a cap-and-trade program through which offsets undercut reductions, allowing big polluters to continue business as usual.

Furthermore, there still remain state enforced laws such as compulsory pooling and eminent domain which allow big polluters to disregard property rights and wreck natural habitats that naturally offer the ecosystem service of carbon sequestration

CES - Ecosystem Services Fact Sheets: Ecosystem Services

Valuing Ecosystem Services

Carbon Sequestration

Center for a Stateless Society » Neighborhood Environmentalism: Toward Democratic Energy

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