Communist Party of Australia

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Issue #1591      May 1, 2013

Fracking won’t deliver cheaper fuel bills

Soaring energy costs plunging families into fuel poverty won’t be brought down by fracking for shale gas, miners MP Ian Lavery argues. Mr Lavery is part of Westminster’s energy and climate change committee which has published its report into the controversial practice of drilling into rocks beneath the Earth’s surface to capture gas.

Committee chairman and Tory MP Tim Yeo claimed that a fracking “revolution” had already driven down energy costs in north America.

He urged fracking companies to “get on and drill” despite admitting shale gas isn’t the “silver bullet” that will solve Britain’s long-term energy needs.

“The government has dithered on this issue and should now encourage companies to get on and drill, to establish whether significant recoverable resources exist” he said.

Tory Energy Minister Michael Fallon labelled the report a “helpful analysis” on shale gas, which he said had “potential to play a role in our energy security and to create valuable jobs.”

Mr Lavery said shale gas “may have a role to play” in meeting Britain’s energy needs although he was clear fracking alone won’t “keep the lights on.” He said: “I understand people have got grave concerns about fracking but if we have got this kind of resource beneath our feet then as a nation we should certainly look to secure that.

“The costs of exploiting shale gas may be prohibitive and the emission levels created by shale gas may also mean we may not be able to meet our carbon reduction targets.”

And the left Labour MP insisted that benefits from all of Britain’s energy projects “should be for the nation and not private companies. Consideration should be given to the total nationalisation of energy,” he said.

“Regulation has failed – the big six energy companies are creaming off massive profits at the same time as people are being driven by their thousands into fuel poverty.”

Meanwhile Greenpeace climate campaigner Leila Deen insisted fracking remains a “dangerous distraction from renewables.”

Ms Deen said: “The only thing most experts agree on is that it won’t reduce bills. The government needs to start backing energy winners.”

Morning Star  

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