Three applications to explore for shale gas in the Karoo using fracking are “fatally flawed”, says the Treasure the Karoo Action Group.
This is because the public participation process that each of the companies followed was inadequate, says anti-fracking group chairman Jonathan Deal.
Responding to a question about whether opposition to fracking was coming only from wealthy white landowners and that other Karoo residents were not having their say, Deal said it was an issue that “concerns me greatly” and one that was vigorously debated by the action group’s leadership.
“Our government has failed in its responsibility to ensure that the citizens are told about fracking truthfully and accurately… There are hundreds of thousands of people who know nothing about this,” he said.
Jonathan Deal talks at Shale Gas Conference
But it was not the action group’s responsibility to inform people. “A matter of this magnitude and scale is the duty of government – it’s their critical duty to ensure that everyone is informed.”
Deal said fracking had been banned or was under a partial moratorium in five countries – France, Bulgaria, SA, Switzerland and the Netherlands – as well as states in Germany and Australia and 108 places around the world.
There had to be a reason for this, despite the “so-called” benefits of abundant energy, abundant jobs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions that shale gas offered, he argued.
Mark Ruffalo joins the fold
Deal said a partnership had been finalised between the action group and US anti-fracking lobby group Water Defence, led by movie star and activist Mark Ruffalo.
He said Ruffalo would join the action group board and he would join the board of Water Defence.
“The anti-fracking movement is going global, formally” he said.
A statement issued later by the action group quoted Ruffalo as saying that fracking was “a global threat (that) requires a global response”.
Deal said the move would “considerably enhance” his group’s ability to oppose fracking in SA.
By John Yeld, Environment & Science Writer