Category Archives: Fracking

Stuff on fracking , mostly in Lancashire

Fracking Lancashire: The planning process, social harm and collective trauma – a revue

Over the last few years I have been drawn into the controversy over fracking in Lancashire. Initially I was hostile to it having picked up thinks by hearsay. I was finished off by earthquakes as I found the claims of earthquakes so silly as if a Mag 2.3 could do damage. After that I looked into all aspects and concluded that anti-frackers were like Creationists – either culpably  clueless about science or downright dishonest. I still can’t decide which, but then I can’t for Creationists.

Well, here is a serious “social Science” study of the effect of fracking applications on local communities in Lancashire causing collective trauma etc.

My response may be summed up in this meme

 

Well, here is the paper.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016718517300519

Available online 17 March 2017 In Press, Corrected ProofNote to users

Geoforum is published by Elsevier, a highly respected publisher of journals. Among others it publishes The Proceedings of the Geological Association, one of the flagship British geological journals. I was pleased to have a paper published in it some years ago but this has taken the shine off it for me. (My paper was on the discovery of Ice Ages in North Wales in the 1840s)

At present you can download Short and Szolucha’s paper. I shall give some extracts and make comments, which are informed by my close observation of the progress of fracking in Lancashire over the last five years

Fracking Lancashire: The planning process, social harm and collective trauma

Under a Creative Commons license

  Open Access


Abstract

To date there have been very few studies that have sought to investigate the crimes, harms and human rights violations associated with the process of ‘extreme energy’, whereby energy extraction methods grow more ‘unconventional’ and intense over time as easier to extract resources are depleted. The fields of rural sociology and political science have produced important perception studies but few social impact studies. The field of ‘green criminology’, while well suited to examining the impacts of extreme energy given its focus on social and environmental ‘harms’, has produced just one citizen ‘complaint’ study to date. It is vital that more social and environmental impact studies become part of the local, national and international public policy debate. To this end, in the following paper we seek to move beyond perception studies to highlight the harms that can occur at the planning and approval stage. Indeed, while the UK is yet to see unconventional gas and oil extraction reach the production stage, as this article shows, local communities can suffer significant harms even at the exploration stage when national governments with neoliberal economic agendas are set on developing unconventional resources in the face of considerable opposition and a wealth of evidence of environmental and social harms. This paper takes a broad interdisciplinary approach, inspired by green criminological insights, that shows how a form of ‘collective trauma’ has been experienced at the exploration stage by communities in the North of England.

 

Keywords; ‘Fracking’; Extreme energyPlanning policyCorporate influenceSocial harm; Collective trauma

 

The key words “extreme energy, social harm, collective” indicate the stance of the authors. To the authors Fracking is a “bad thing” as the authors of 1066 and all that would say!

Vitae

Damien Short is a Reader in Human Rights and Director of the Human Rights Consortium at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. His latest book, ‘Redefining Genocide’, was published by Zed Books, 2016. Currently he is researching the human rights impacts of the process of extreme energy.

Anna Szolucha is currently a postdoctoral Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen, Norway. She is researching the intersections of energy and democracy in the context of shale gas developments and renewable energy in the UK and Poland. Her recent publications include: a report on the social impacts of shale gas in the UK: “The Human Dimensions of Shale Gas Developments in Lancashire” as well as “Real Democracy in the Occupy Movement: No stable ground” published by Routledge.

The paper takes an “Extreme Energy” perspective and thus is opposed to fracking by definition. They give their objections to it and are dependent on opponents like Moobs, Ingraffea, Smythe and others and do not interact with those who are more positive towards it like the RS/RAE report of 2021 or the wealth of materail from Refine, BGS, EA, and many academics, who are air-brushed out.

however they consider those whom they refer to as experts like Mike Hill or David Smythe, despite their arguments being generally rejected.

They are very critical of the  LCC planning officer’s dossiers and do not mention the activity of Friends of the Earth in Lancashire from 2011, except for the advice taken from FoE lawyers at the hearings in late June 2015. I gave a paper on the history of fracking exploration in Lancashire in Barcelona last year and gave a very different story, particularly on how Friends of the Earth conned and manipulated local communities thus infecting them with collective trauma

Friends of the Earth also sought independent legal advice and, following pressure from the resident’s groups, eventually LCC officials relented and said that such new legal advice could be circulated at the Monday hearing.

This is not what many at the meeting perceived. Many were appalled at the emotionalism and inaccuracy from those opposed to fracking. Further the committee refused other legal advice, which was seen as the committee showing a bias against fracking. I was appalled at their behaviour and reckoned they mocked local democracy, by their refusal to listen to the planning officer, who is maliciously rubbished in this “academic” study.

I give comments on some sections;

6. Exploration stage harms: collective trauma

From our work with the communities resisting the applications in Lancashire it seems that sociologist Erikson’s (1976) work on collective trauma is an appropriate description of the collective harms experienced. Collective trauma, according to Erikson, is ‘a blow to the basic tissues of social life that damages the bonds attaching people together and impairs the prevailing sense of communality’; it ‘works its way slowly and even insidiously into the awareness of those who suffer from it,’ and while ‘it does not have the quality of suddenness normally associated with trauma, but it is a form of shock all the same’ ( Erikson, 1976:154). From the data collected in interviews, participant observation and numerous conversations, and the subsequent analysis it became clear that many particular narratives and descriptions that emerged can be equated to the experience of collective trauma Erikson describes.

It is difficult to take this seriously.  I see induced “collective trauma” reflected in the mantra of one district councillor who repeats on social media “I am frightened”. Well, they would be if they swallowed the false horror stories from RAFF and FoE.

7. Application and Planning Officer report analysis

While the ‘rejection’ outcomes of the Lancashire hearings rightly pleased many in the anti-fracking movement, the process up to that point was deeply concerning on a number of levels, which do not bode well for local citizens who wish to resist future fracking applications. Specifically, there were key areas where the fracking company was clearly favoured at the expense of the views of, and evidence presented, by the local objectors and their expert witnesses. Moreover, the deciding Councillors were effectively threatened with legal action if they refused the application. They were told that to refuse the application would be tantamount to breaking the law, as it would be an ‘unsustainable’ decision lacking evidence, and would expose them to high appeal costs at a time when councils are badly affected by austerity. We will deal with each of these points in turn.

This does not say who threatened the committee, though LCC lawyers pointed out they could be liable if they rejected the PO’s report. The meeting was heated and fraught. however the charge of threatening the committee needs to be substantiated. I saw no evidence of it at the meeting, but I did witness the appalling pressure applied by anti-groups and it was clear that there were fiends pulling the strings.

7.1. The Planning Officer Report

The Lancashire County Council Planning Officer’s (hereafter PO) report published by LCC on 15 June 2015, which is meant to provide an unbiased appraisal to assist the Development Control Committee (DCC) reach a decision was, at best, fundamentally flawed and inadequately researched, and, at worst, biased and disrespectful. Development Control Committees give considerable weight to PO reports, especially when much of an application concerns material that is both highly technical and hotly debated. Thus, the PO bears a huge responsibility to evaluate the application, via a reasoned summary of the best available evidence, in an impartial and responsible manner. Unfortunately, in this case the PO reports fell so woefully short of such standards that they raise the obvious suspicion of undue political and/or industry pressure and influence.

To describe the report as “fundamentally flawed and inadequately researched, and, at worst, biased and disrespectful.” is simply unjust. What the PO did was to weigh up arguments on both sides, which he did admirably. He concluded that the arguments put forward against fracking in Roseacre and Little Plumpton were very flawed.

This alone makes this paper to be totally flawed and showing an extreme bias.

 

8. Conclusion

To conclude, it was evident from the interview and observation data, and can be seen from these excerpts, that evidence from the USA and Australia is having a strong effect on local residents. It is galvanising resistance and allowing people to organise opposition around certain key harms that have been experienced elsewhere. During the interviews it was striking how well informed the respondents were. In making their objections most respondents were aware of recent academic studies and were able to cite their findings. Being able to inform the planning process with evidence-based objections undoubtedly contributed to the successful result – notwithstanding the Secretary of State’s intervention in favour of the applicant. Even so, the whole process took a considerable toll on the local population. It was apparent from the research that a form of ‘collective trauma’ was experienced by the affected communities. This is an under researched phenomenon and we suggest more studies are conducted into the social impacts of, not just sites of extreme energy production, but also areas subject to industry exploration applications. This data should then feed into all public policy discussions around unconventional gas and oil developments.

The need for such studies in the UK is even more critical now than in the past. At the time of writing (early 2017), Cuadrilla have moved in and started work to prepare the PNR site despite pending legal challenges launched by local residents. After the Secretary of State’s decision to override local democracy and approve the applications in Lancashire the residents have engaged in direct action by “slow-walking” the trucks bringing building materials to the site. This has the effect of slowing down the works but also means that the residents as well as the police are present at the site every day, witnessing and reporting potential planning breaches, so far to no effect. This situation will have significant and long-lasting impacts on the local community, contributing to the collective trauma already experienced by the residents living in the vicinity of potential fracking sites in Lancashire.

The political and legal pressures brought to bear on the LCC Development Control Committee highlighted by this research could be a taster of a new normal if the highly controversial EU/US negotiated (neoliberal par excellence) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is resurrected, no doubt through a rebranding, repackaging process, or a post-‘Brexit’ US-UK version drawn up. Indeed, it is deeply concerning that neoliberal austerity ravaged councils, such as LCC, will be under immense pressure to permit fracking operations, despite the considerable risks of environmental and social harms, because under recent government guidelines if they reject an application and lose an appeal they will have to pay costs. On the other hand, if other councils, backed by committed and organised anti-fracking constituents, continue to object it may be that the prospects for a fledgling unconventional hydrocarbon extraction industry in the UK are bleak (Browne, 2017).

I am speechless.

One thing is very clear. The sample interviewed for this study was very limited and almost selected to give the conclusions required.

Why didn’t the two researchers contact a wider cross-section of people?

*************************************************************************

I am afraid this academic paper has not raised my opinion of sociological studies as it demonstrates an extreme bias to the left and simply prejudice against fracking.

It calls to mind some of the crazy things which are highlighted on the twitter account @RealPeerReview

Here are some;

First a Ph D thesis from Salford Univ

http://usir.salford.ac.uk/40411/

The travelling gamer : an ethnography of video game events

 Law, YY 2016, The travelling gamer : an ethnography of video game events , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

Ethnography is the latest sociological study and auto-ethnography is when it is just done by the sociologist doing to be observing. (Check it on wikipedia)

Second is a peereviewed academic paper of an autoethnographic study of worring in a carrel in a library.

***This is the entire paper ***

I had thought Sage Publications published good academic joutrnals

 

Peter Joseph Gloviczki


Qualitative Inquiry

First published date: April-13-2017

Sage Publications

and lastly to get my claws in, a study of nail salons.

http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1532708614562886?journalCode=csca

If any reader thinks I am cynical about autoethnography or ethnography they might possibly be correct

At Last, Greenpeace Admits to ‘Rhetorical Hyperbole’ i.e lying #fakefacts

In the UK we get fed up of the terminological inexact reports and campaigns of Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace. In Canada GP come out with the exquisite euphemism

heated rhetoric is the coin of the realm.

Less delicately that would be “bloody lies”

 

But we have the same in Britain over fracking and possibly over bees.

DSCF2859

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/not-for-shale/

And, of course, this is what Friends of the Earth were doing with this leaflet

foe-leaflet-cover

https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/friends-of-the-earth-fck-it-up/

It seems that the same thing is happening in North America  and here is an article about Greenpeace at it in the National Review, who would probably regard me as a pinko.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445373/greenpeace-environmental-groups-sued-resolute-forest-products-ontario-quebec

by RICHARD GARNEAU March 2, 2017 4:00 AM A company unfairly attacked by the environmental group has sued it. A few years ago Greenpeace and allied groups chose my company, Resolute, Canada’s largest forest-products company, to be their next victim. They compiled a litany of outlandish assertions: We were “forest destroyers,” for example, aggravating climate change, and causing a “caribou death spiral and extinction” in Canada’s boreal habitat. Greenpeace harassed companies we do business with, threatening them with the same sort of smear campaign that they launched against us and even instigating cyber-attacks on their websites. And they bragged about the damage — $100 million, in Canadian dollars — that they claimed to have inflicted on our business. They were lying about our forestry practices, so we did something that none of the group’s other targets have yet found the wherewithal to do: We sued them, in Canada, for defamation and intentional interference with economic relations, and in the United States under RICO statutes. A funny thing happened when Greenpeace and allies were forced to account for their claims in court. They started changing their tune.

 

Their condemnations of our forestry practices “do not hew to strict literalism or scientific precision,” as they concede in their latest legal filings. Their accusations against Resolute were instead “hyperbole,” “heated rhetoric,” and “non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion” that should not be taken “literally” or expose them to any legal liability. These are sober admissions after years of irresponsible attacks.   No “forest loss” was caused by Resolute, the groups concede — now that they are being held accountable. Of course, these late admissions are consistent with the findings of just about every independent journalist and commentator who has covered the dispute, from the Wall Street Journal editorial board to Enquête, a Canadian version, roughly, of 60 Minutes. Even Steve Forbes weighed in, calling our lawsuit “an outstanding example of how unfairly attacked companies should respond.” Peter Reich, one of the world’s leading forest ecologists, has said that Greenpeace has “a fundamental disregard for scientific reality.” RELATED: In a ‘Post-Truth’ Era, Greenpeace Lies to Raise Money Finally hearing the truth from Greenpeace itself is vindication, even if it comes in the form of a tortured defense of its actions, rather than a simple apology. Remarkably, despite admitting in court that its rhetoric against Resolute is not true, Greenpeace continues to disparage us publicly and privately. Just a few weeks ago, we sent it a cease-and-desist letter demanding that it stop sending to our customers threatening letters accusing us of the “destruction of forests in Quebec and Ontario.” Some news outlets in the United States have filed amicus briefs on behalf of Greenpeace, on free-speech grounds. But freedom of speech is not the same as libel and slander. And the public should ask the outlets when it can expect scrutinizing, critical coverage of what Greenpeace itself now admits are deceptive practices. More than a billion trees. That’s how many Resolute’s workers have planted in Ontario’s boreal forest, in addition to the hundreds of millions that workers have planted in Quebec. Yet for years now, the eco-provocateurs at Greenpeace have been raising money off the calculated mistruths that we are somehow “responsible for the destruction of vast areas of forest.”   Greenpeace is marauding not just our company but a way of life, one built on nurturing healthy forests that are the lifeblood of the people who live there. So far they have acted with virtual impunity and profited handsomely. One Greenpeace executive was even caught laughing on camera when he was confronted on a leading broadcast program with photos of a forest, affected by a wildfire, that the group erroneously said was “destroyed” by Resolute. It was morally wrong and yet another example that, as Greenpeace puts it, “heated rhetoric is the coin of the realm.” For me, confronting this barrage of misinformation has been more than just about business ethics. It is very personal. I was raised in Quebec’s Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region, where my family has lived for generations. I harvested trees by hand to pay my way through school. Now 50 years later, those forest areas are again ready for harvest, and someday I will retire to this same land that my great-grandfather tilled. Greenpeace is marauding not just our company but a way of life, one built on nurturing healthy forests that are the lifeblood of the people who live there. That’s why union leaders, small-business people, First Nations chiefs, and mayors and other government officials, of all political stripes, have written Greenpeace, imploring it to halt its campaign of misinformation. In nearly every instance, Greenpeace lacked the simple decency to respond, apparently indifferent to the human consequences of its actions. Last summer, nearly 5,000 people marched through the streets of the small northern Quebec town of Saint-Félicien, demanding an end to Greenpeace’s disingenuous market campaign. Recognizing that the very viability of their communities are now held in the balance, local leaders have even “extended a hand” for eco-activists to have a dialogue with them. It is telling that Greenpeace neither showed up nor responded. As a chief executive, I often meet and engage personally with our devoted employees at the local level, in the forests where they live and work. I know we share a common interest and a responsibility to sustain the forests for tomorrow. That’s why we’re not going to let Greenpeace get away with using “rhetorical hyperbole” to make false and damaging accusations from hundreds and thousands of miles away, in its glass-walled towers in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Washington, D.C.  We’re going to stand tall, both in public discourse and in the courts. For my part, my guiding hope is to return to the forest with the ability to face my neighbors, my family, and my community and tell them that I stood up and told the truth. — Richard Garneau is the president and CEO of Resolute Forest Products.

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445373/greenpeace-environmental-groups-sued-resolute-forest-products-ontario-quebec

Criminal trespass at National rally against #fracking at Preston New Road –

The anti-fracking rally near Blackpool ended up with criminal trespass by 100 out 250 protesters. I wonder how many were local

 

Here is a video of the trespass https://twitter.com/LancsForShale/status/835863656361562113

And an excellent video from That’s Lancashire

And a not good #fakesnews report from Friends of the Earth

Despite being billed as a family friendly gathering, today’s national rally against fracking has led to unacceptable scenes of trespass and public disorder, as well as disruption to local businesses and the community at Preston New Road. We are deeply troubled to see that hardline activists – mostly from outside the area – have hijacked …

Source: National rally against #fracking at Preston New Road – Lancashire For Shale

Despite being billed as a family friendly gathering, today’s national rally against fracking has led to unacceptable scenes of trespass and public disorder, as well as disruption to local businesses and the community at Preston New Road.

IMG_4394

 

We are deeply troubled to see that hardline activists – mostly from outside the area – have hijacked what was meant to be a peaceful demonstration, and have turned it into a serious and ugly confrontation with the police and authorities.

After a rally at Maple Farm, which police say was attended by around 250 people – many travelling to the area by specially laid on buses from London and Brighton – somewhere in the region of 100 activists trespassed in the farmer’s field leased to Cuadrilla and stormed a construction compound.

Whilst we respect people’s legitimate right to protest, there is no place for this kind of behaviour in civilised society, and we expect the police and courts to deal with offenders robustly.

Cuadrilla has obtained all the necessary legal permissions it needs to now get on with shale gas exploration, and should be allowed to do just that.

Despite the trouble, the fact that the total number of people attending the demo was so small compared to past events shows that movement is running out of steam at the national level, and that, in general, local people have accepted the Secretary of State’s decision to approve fracking on the Fylde and just want to see Cuadrilla now get on with it.

They also want to see the promised jobs and supply chain opportunities benefiting local people and companies, and will be rightly concerned that today’s behaviour could put some companies off working in the shale gas industry, forcing Cuadrilla to spend money outside Lancashire.

 

Here’s the BBC report recording only 250 protesters.

 

Why can BBC not correct their inaccurate and misleading graphic on fracking?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-39083769

Fracking quakes in Pennsylvania

An interesting article of quakes in the USA. Pinched from  https://energyindepth.org/marcellus/what-you-need-to-know-about-fracking-earthquakes-pennsylvania/#comment-112304 

It fits in with the Lancashire experience

What You Need to Know About Fracking and Seismicity in Pennsylvania

Earthquakes are not something typically discussed in Pennsylvania, as there have only been a handful of felt events in the history of the state. That’s not to say earthquakes don’t occur — just that most are centered in two regions of the state and very few are felt at the surface. So it isn’t surprising there was considerable media coverage of this week’s release of a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) study that concluded that microseismic events in Lawrence County had a temporal and spatial relationship with a hydraulic fracturing operation that took place nearby.

Fortunately, DEP held a webinar on Friday that should have alleviated most of the fears and corrected the misinformation surrounding this finding, in large part because this is the only instance of seismic activity being correlated to oil and gas operations in Pennsylvania’s history.

Let’s take a look at what DEP’s study did — and did not — find on earthquakes and fracking in Pennsylvania.

Background

On April 25, 2016, the Pennsylvania State Seismic Network (PASeis), the Ohio Seismic Network (OhioSeis) and the Lamont-Doherty Cooperative Seismic Network (LCSN) recorded microseismic events (five total) ranging from 1.8 to 2.3 on the Richter Scale in Mahoning, North Beaver and Union Townships just west of New Castle in Lawrence County. These were not felt earthquakes, meaning they not only caused no structural damage, but people would not have even been able to feel when they happened.

DEP notified Hilcorp, a company that had been conducting hydraulic fracturing operations roughly five miles from the epicenters, of the events that day. The company immediatelyvolunteered to stop all operations and begin demobilization of the site, and later informed DEP that they had voluntarily stopped all fracking and stimulation on the well pad indefinitely.

Upon further investigation DEP concluded,

Although there is no definitive geologic association of events at this time, there is a marked temporal/spatial relationship between fracking/stimulation activities at the North Beaver NC Development well site and the seismic events on April 25, 2016.”

FACT: This is the only time in Pennsylvania’s history that oil and gas operations have been correlated with seismic activity.

This finding is the exception, not the norm by any stretch of the imagination. As expert after expert —including officials from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Research Council — have said, it is only under certain unique and limited geological conditions that completion activities are capable of inducing seismic events that can be felt at the surface.

The USGS has been monitoring seismic activity in Pennsylvania since around 1970, and since that time have identified two more seismically active parts of the state. One is the Triassic Rift basin in the Southeastern part of the state, while the other is located in the northwestern part of the state that includes Lawrence County and is part of a glacial retreat from Lake Erie. Yet not one of the seismic events mapped below has had any link with the hundreds of thousands of oil and gas wells in the state, which date back to the 1800s.

Here’s just how significant that is. From January 2004 to April 2016 there were 9,710 unconventional oil and gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania, including 71 drilled in Lawrence County. If we include conventional wells, there were actually 38,976 total wells drilled during that time period, including 75 in Lawrence County. FracFocus.org has records for 6,254 wells — including 61 in Lawrence County — that were hydraulically fractured during that same time period. And in that roughly 11-year period, only two wells have ever even been considered possible contributors to induced seismic activity.

That means that 99.98 percent of all unconventional wells drilled and 99.97 percent of all the wells hydraulically fractured during that time period never had a link to induced seismic activity — and no other wells have since.

Even in Lawrence County, where there have been far fewer wells drilled, 97.19 percent of those drilled and 96.72 percent of those fracked never had any links to induced any seismic activity.

A Penn State study analyzing seismic activity in Pennsylvania in 2013-2014 also found that “there is little evidence, if any, in the PASeis catalog for fracking-related seismicity. If the catalog does contain such events, then they are no larger than the mining-related events occurring on a regular basis throughout the Commonwealth.”

FACT: These events were microseismic, meaning they were below a level that would be felt by humans and caused no damage.

The earthquakes in Lawrence County ranged from 1.9 to 2.3 on the Richter Scale, which the following DEP graphic illustrates are “microseismic” events that are well below the level that can be felt by humans, much less cause damage.

 

Stanford geophysicist Mark Zoback has previously given some perspective to the term “microseismic”:

 “It is important to note that extremely small microseismic events occur during hydraulic fracturing operations. These microseismic events affect a very small volume of rock and release, on average, about the same amount of energy as a gallon of milk falling off a kitchen counter.”

Here’s another way to think of it. If you’ve attended a Pittsburgh Steelers or Penn State game, you know that the enthusiasm displayed by fans can be quite astounding, and when all of those people start stomping and cheering at the same time, a phenomenon scientists are calling a “fan quake” occurs. These “fan quakes” are being measured by how they would compare to an earthquake on the Richter Scale. Microseismic events don’t even come close to what fans are capable of producing.

FACT: DEP has made very specific recommendations for future risk mitigation that apply to a select area of the state, only involving the Utica Shale.

One of the major questions that came up during DEP’s webinar was how this will impact operations in other parts of the state, other operators, or even areas in Lawrence County outside of the three townships where the epicenters were located. The short answer is it won’t.

As a result of these events DEP has made very specific recommendations for future development, and those will only apply in “areas of alternative methods.” This is because seismic activity is so unlikely to occur in other parts of the state—and even more so unlikely in Marcellus Shale development. In fact, DEP specifically noted these areas of alternative methods would only apply to the Utica Shale formation because there are places, such as Lawrence County, where the Utica is notably closer to the basement rock formation. That’s not the case with the Marcellus.

Now, does that mean that any operations in that zone would be likely to induce seismic activity? No—but it does mean that DEP now has recommendations that will be written into future permits, and possibly turned into new regulations for those specific areas that will outline exactly what a company and the regulatory agency must do in the event of highly unlikely future seismic activity. While these are specifically outlined for Hilcorp, they will be applied to future operators as necessary as well. Some of these recommendations include:

DEP has enough confidence that these were isolated events to have already accepted Hilcorp’s seismic monitoring program, which includes DEP’s recommendations. The agency has also issued a new permit for operations with a condition including the recommendations.

100% renewable energy and zero emissions – can we do it?

I have re-blogged this from Lee Petts of Remsol in Preston. He is an environmentalist with dirty hands as he actually does things environmental rather than just woffle or protest. Hi writings are always well-thought out.

As we see 100% renewables are a pipe-dream and blind faith

fossilfree

 

 

100% renewable energy and zero emissions – can we do it – Remsol – growth focused sustainability, CSR and environmental consultants

After reading news of how Google expects to meet its 100% renewable energy target in 2017, we decided to examine how realistic this goal is in the UK

Source: 100% renewable energy and zero emissions – can we do it – Remsol – growth focused sustainability, CSR and environmental consultants

Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself

For a longg time I have reckoned Postmodernism is a dead end as it ultimately denies the reality of anything and totally relativises history and science so that one ulimately cannot say creationism is more wrong than evolutionary science.

as Dawkins said “you cannot be a post-modernist at 36000ft” with the cabin door open.

So much of modern discourse leans to Post-modernism with the “science” behind Anti-vaxxers, anti-GMO, anti-fracking , climate change deniers etc.

Maybe Trump will be remembered by philospjers as the first Post-post-modernist!

There is much between the lines here

 

 

No one should be surprised that postmodern America chose an antihero to be our next president. Donald Trump is postmodernism embodied.

Source: Donald Trump Is The First President To Turn Postmodernism Against Itself

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

A good article on why opinion is worthless in may cases. He cites the opinion of an Antivaxxer as being worthless as she has no qualifications or skills to give her “considered view”.  It is the same with many who are anti- GMO, Fracking, etc etc , or exponents of chemtrail , conspiracy theories and the like, who put forward bullshit opinions as if they are valued arguments based on evidence. It applies to ngos like GP or FOE

In other words

Stuff your opinion

Now read on

 

No, you’re not entitled to your opinion

Patrick Stokes Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, Deakin University, Australia

https://theconversation.com/no-youre-not-entitled-to-your-opinion-9978

Every year, I try to do at least two things with my students at least once. First, I make a point of addressing them as “philosophers” – a bit cheesy, but hopefully it encourages active learning.

Secondly, I say something like this: “I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.”

A bit harsh? Perhaps, but philosophy teachers owe it to our students to teach them how to construct and defend an argument – and to recognize when a belief has become indefensible.

The problem with “I’m entitled to my opinion” is that, all too often, it’s used to shelter beliefs that should have been abandoned. It becomes shorthand for “I can say or think whatever I like” – and by extension, continuing to argue is somehow disrespectful. And this attitude feeds, I suggest, into the false equivalence between experts and non-experts that is an increasingly pernicious feature of our public discourse.

Firstly, what’s an opinion?

Plato distinguished between opinion or common belief (doxa) and certain knowledge, and that’s still a workable distinction today: unlike “1+1=2” or “there are no square circles,” an opinion has a degree of subjectivity and uncertainty to it. But “opinion” ranges from tastes or preferences, through views about questions that concern most people such as prudence or politics, to views grounded in technical expertise, such as legal or scientific opinions.

You can’t really argue about the first kind of opinion. I’d be silly to insist that you’re wrong to think strawberry ice cream is better than chocolate. The problem is that sometimes we implicitly seem to take opinions of the second and even the third sort to be unarguable in the way questions of taste are. Perhaps that’s one reason (no doubt there are others) why enthusiastic amateurs think they’re entitled to disagree with climate scientists and immunologists and have their views “respected.”

Meryl Dorey is the leader of the Australian Vaccination Network, which despite the name is vehemently anti-vaccine. Ms. Dorey has no medical qualifications, but argues that if Bob Brown is allowed to comment on nuclear power despite not being a scientist, she should be allowed to comment on vaccines. But no-one assumes Dr. Brown is an authority on the physics of nuclear fission; his job is to comment on the policy responses to the science, not the science itself.

So what does it mean to be “entitled” to an opinion?

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

On Monday, the ABC’s Mediawatch program took WIN-TV Wollongong to task for running a story on a measles outbreak which included comment from – you guessed it – Meryl Dorey. In a response to a viewer complaint, WIN said that the story was “accurate, fair and balanced and presented the views of the medical practitioners and of the choice groups.” But this implies an equal right to be heard on a matter in which only one of the two parties has the relevant expertise. Again, if this was about policy responses to science, this would be reasonable. But the so-called “debate” here is about the science itself, and the “choice groups” simply don’t have a claim on air time if that’s where the disagreement is supposed to lie.

Mediawatch host Jonathan Holmes was considerably more blunt: “there’s evidence, and there’s bulldust,” and it’s not part of a reporter’s job to give bulldust equal time with serious expertise.

The response from anti-vaccination voices was predictable. On the Mediawatch site, Ms. Dorey accused the ABC of “openly calling for censorship of a scientific debate.” This response confuses not having your views taken seriously with not being allowed to hold or express those views at all – or to borrow a phrase from Andrew Brown, it “confuses losing an argument with losing the right to argue.” Again, two senses of “entitlement” to an opinion are being conflated here.

So next time you hear someone declare they’re entitled to their opinion, ask them why they think that. Chances are, if nothing else, you’ll end up having a more enjoyable conversation that way.

Read more from Patrick Stokes: The ethics of bravery