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Western Cape
Sep 11 2012 10:02AM
 
Fracking battle looms
FUTURE CONCERNS: Capetonians march against Shell’s fracking plans in the Karoo. Picture: Gallo Images
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Francis Hweshe

Environmental lobby group Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and local groups have rallied together to oppose fracking in the Karoo.

The Cabinet lifted a moratorium on exploration for gas in the Karoo on Friday.

TKAG has vowed to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Fracking, widely under attack in the US and Canada among other countries, is a mining technique in which water mixed with chemicals is pumped to great depths under the surface to fracture rocks in order to release gas bound in rock fissures.

TKAG argues that fracking has been banned or restricted in 155 jurisdictions around the world because chemicals used in the process could potentially seep into underground water sources.

The environmental lobby also contends that waste water from fracking would absorb radioactivity from naturally occurring minerals such as uranium.

At a press briefing in Cape Town yesterday, TKAG chairperson Jonathan Deal said the group had received overwhelming support from among others, Food & Watch, Frack Action, Waterdefence and Artists Against Fracking USA.

“It is clear that there is widespread abhorrence to this environmentally harmful, potentially polluting form of mining,” he said.

They had also received a message of support from Josh Fox, producer of the award-winning documentary film Gasland.

Locally, he said they had the support of many organisations, including the Southern Cape Land Committee and the KwaZulu-Natal-based African Conservation Trust.

Deal said fracking was potentially irreversible and would negatively affect the environment, the health of communities and would not deliver sustainable jobs or energy provisions as promised by mining companies.

He said their research and legal and scientific reviews of the environmental management plans of oil companies Royal Dutch Shell, Bundu and Falcon that have applied to explore for gas in the Karoo had revealed “fatal flaws”.

“These flaws mean that the plans of the applicants are at odds with various South African laws and regulations as well as the Constitution of the country,” he said.

He vowed that TKAG would appeal against all explorations licenses granted to mining companies.

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu is expected to address the National Assembly and the media on the issue today, said spokesperson, Zingaphi Jakuja – WCN

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