The risks and benefits of fracking for shale oil and gas generate as many opinions as there are Scottish malt whiskies. Now the two subjects have finally collided, following a report by the 38 Degrees Scotland campaigning website, and Scotland will decide this year if it will frack gas. The fracking process uses much water and various hazardous fracking fluids. The industry is sure, even though some of the processed and flow-back water may be polluted, that there will be no risks to ground or surface water. This is because, it argues, no significant leaks will occur and the water can be treated effectively. The industry’s critics are equally clear that there will be serious risks of water and other pollution that could possibly threaten public health. Each side produces different evidence or readings of the same evidence to support its case. In the US last year “data gaps and uncertainties limited the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to fully assess the potential impacts [of fracking] on drinking water resources locally and nationally”. So why should all this matter to the Scottish whisky industry? No one knows exactly where fracking for gas will occur if it is allowed. Parts of the central belt have exploration licences but not where malt distilleries exist, so no problem?
Times 1st May 2017 read more »