WWF: Fracking decision disappointing

2012-09-07 18:43

Cape Town - Conservation organisation World Wide Fund for Nature in SA (WWF-SA) is "deeply disappointed" by Cabinet's decision to lift a moratorium on applications to explore, or frack, for shale gas in the Karoo.

The moratorium should have stayed in place until all the environmental concerns were sorted out, WWF-SA Living Planet Unit head Saliem Fakir said in a statement on Friday.

"We maintain our scepticism on the issue of fracking, and are of the view that the moratorium should have remained in place so that environmental externalities, such as the water and carbon footprint associated with shale gas exploration, could be properly interrogated," he said.

WWF-SA was also concerned about "the lack of transparency and democratic process involved in Cabinet's decision", and called on Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu to release the report on which the decision was based.

Earlier, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane told a post-Cabinet media briefing that the decision was based on recommendations contained in the report on shale gas exploration prepared by the technical task team that was appointed last year.

This was after the department of mineral resources imposed a moratorium on applications for exploration for shale gas - using the fracking method - in the Karoo, amid concerns of possible environmental impact.

"Cabinet endorsed recommendations of the report on the lifting of the afore-stated moratorium," Chabane said.

Shabangu would release the report "at the appropriate time", he said.

WWF-SA said the decision to grant exploration licences for a process that was "banned or heavily restricted in at least 155 instances globally", required much more transparent and careful investigation than it had received.

"The shale gas issue has been handled in an appalling manner. That the task team's brief and findings have still not been disclosed is extremely disconcerting."

The lifting of the moratorium on fracking placed some of South Africa's sensitive ecological systems under serious threat.

"WWF is not convinced that adequate investigation has been made into the environmental footprint of shale-gas mining, a task that should have been allocated to an independent scientific panel, including international experts.

"Even if environmental safeguards were to exist on paper, there is no certainty that companies awarded rights to explore will be enforced (monitored) adequately to ensure that they are complying and making the necessary provisions to deal with environmental damage and rehabilitation," Fakir said.

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  • karl.vanrooyen - 2012-09-07 19:23

    The mind boggles . Imagine \r\nthe corruption to follow , never mind the destruction of what's left of the environment

      ike.jakson - 2012-09-07 19:52

      Karl Smile. There was one tick not liking your comment. I don’t know where we stand with the WWF [they oppose virtually anything] and I often wonder who pays them. On the other hand environment concerns do matter. My fear is [but I won’t tick anything] that you summed it up so well; if you added “the decision will be made by Money” I would have ticked the like box. Put money and Power together in this, or I should say, current World and as sure as 1+1=2 you will have corruption. That is the entire World of Politics and Money: CORRUPTION. Hence I shall predict, like it or not Money will make the decisions about the Karoo. I would like to hear from you on this one.

      Gerda Malherbe - 2012-09-07 19:56

      Dis presies hoekom daar n moratorium was - om tyd te gee en te kyk hoeveel meer hulle uit die deal kan kry! Skelms!

  • nel.westhuizen - 2012-09-07 19:27

    Wonder how much the government got paid...

  • warren.carne.9 - 2012-09-07 20:55

    Didn't the govt see the flammable tap water at a US town that got fracked in the TV insert?- but again SA will sell anything and everything to the highest bidder,I mean the DA are also irresponsible by saying if its monitored it may be ok-These twats in power can't monitor anything other than a KFC menu,what happened to monitoring the polluted table water from the Rands Mines?

  • jakes.cakedregs - 2012-09-08 02:29

    With greed and power any brew goes sour.

  • lerato.kay.3 - 2012-09-08 05:50

    Enough of this WWF garbage, go tell that to the unemployed and see if they will give you a nobel prize! It was a good decision imagine the economic benefits to SA, and while we are on it, we will burn more coal to avoid power cuts!

      juannepierre - 2012-09-08 06:08

      It's not sustainable as a way to safeguard jobs for many years to come. Destroy now and deal with the consequences later... Please pick up a history book and see where that type of thinking gets you.

      phae.rayden - 2012-09-08 13:33

      Lerato Kay our Poster Boy for instant gratification decision making. This will destroy any hope your descendants will have of being able to survive, let alone thrive. Are you aware that predictions state wars of the future will be fought over clean water supplies? Its is going to worth more than oil and you think its ok to contaminate? But you are typical of most non thinkers, let's use it all now, we can worry when then cupboard is bare.

  • tyrone.merwe - 2012-09-08 10:40

    As to the monitoring, you have to look no further than Saldanah iron ore to see there is no such thing. As long as the politicians are making money out of it, it will remain like the rest of africa. Corruption feeds the rich and no one else is the wiser.

  • alice.wondergem - 2012-09-08 12:18

    And the almighty 'buck' has won again! Infinite stupidity remains the absolute disease.

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