Landowners turn against leasing for 'fracking'


Tom Bawden
Monday 19 December 2011 01:00 GMT

Nearly half of the landowners who have leased their ground to shale gas developers in the north-east of America regret doing it, despite the money, according to a new report by Deloitte.

In findings that will intensify opposition to the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, some 47 per cent of respondents in the "new shale" states of Pennsylvania and New York, who have rented out their land, said they wouldn't repeat the experience.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent said they would advise family and friends against leasing their land for "fracking", a process which blasts sand, chemicals and water into shale rocks to release the oil and gasthey contain.

Fracking has become increasingly controversial in recent months, as the process was found to have caused earthquakes in Oklahoma in the US and near Blackpool inthe UK.

A report by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), disclosed in The Independent last week, linked fracking and water pollution for the first time, prompting the shadow Energy Minister, Tom Greatex, to demand a full investigation into the technique.

But analysts say the Gasland documentary, which was nominated for an Oscar this year, has probably done the most to inflame opposition. In one scene, residents of Dimock, a small community in the heart of Pennsylvania's fracking industry, blamed the process for polluting their tap water with so much methane that they could light it.

Fracking has been banned in New York, although the move is being reviewed, but the practice continues in Pennsylvania.

While opposition to fracking is mounting in the US, many politicians are in favour of extracting America's plentiful supply of shale gas, which is dragging down household utility bills and reducing its reliance on energy imports from dubious regimes.

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