Where is my ‘dislike’ button?
-- asks Olga from Kyiv, Ukraine, thinking about the fracking plans of the national government. While the officials give a carte blanche to Shell and Chevron to drill into the beautiful Ukrainian land, the citizens become more and more concerned. What is presented as a way towards country’s energy independence seems to cost too much for local people and nature -- say the activists who recently organized two events for the Global Frackdown campaign. Here is Olga's prospect on the situation, from the very battlefront.
After our improvised performance in Kyiv, devoted to the global day of fight against shale gas fracking, several officials came out of the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Ukraine. They said they appreciated our activity and awareness of the problem and one of them asked for a word. An expert from the Union of Ukrainian Geologists, Pavlo Zagorodnyuk, spoke about exciting opportunity of deep shale gas extraction. Mr. Zagorodnyuk emphasized, that Shell and Chevron are risking their time and money to investigate if the Ukrainian shale gas deposit is rich enough for fracking.
I still wonder – should I really care more about Shell’s and Chevron’s financial stability? As for me, the situation is completely opposite. I don’t believe that shale gas extraction would bring Ukraine energy independence from Russia.
I wonder, is there any chance to feel the benefits of national gas extracting for average citizen of Ukraine? On the contrary, these are the corporations who will surely feel the difference in their income, as well as the holders of gas industry in Ukraine will see the difference in their annual reports. And - some Ukrainians will discover that their water is flammable.
On the Global Frackdown Day people all over the world stood up to stop destructive shale gas extraction. One of the reasons of worldwide disturbance is that Shell and Chevron are internationally claimed to be cruel polluters and violators of environment and local communities.
In frames of Global Frackdown action, environmental organizations from another Ukrainian city - Kharkiv organized a pre-premiere screening of the ‘Gasland’ movie. The documentary ‘Gasland’, nominated for Oscar in 2011, shows the real picture of the US local community, which had to face the results of fracking. Destroyed landscapes, earthquakes, poisoned and burning water from the tap… Looks like now this hell is coming to Ukraine.
– Chemistry is fracking hazard #1. Fracking liquid, when it reaches the water, threatens all the living things, associated with it, – says Kharkiv ecologist Oleg Peregon, in his article for local Time Ua web-site. - Fracking liquid usually contains benzene, bore acid, ethylene glycol, and more than 500 other poisonous and explosive components. The second hazard of this extraction method is the surface outcome of the blue fuel, a common name for gas. Huge amounts of gas escape the extractors’ reservoirs, transforming the water from springs and wells into dangerous cocktail, which could burn and explode. The third ‘surprise’ from the gas frackers are the earthquakes. They are not strong, but rather frequent. Fourth ‘present’ is radioactive satellites of shale gas – Radon, Uranium, and other toxic elements, contained in mines. All these sooner or later end up in rivers, lakes and fields. Gas extraction is a pretty quick process. Digging a hole takes a month, then several dozens of hydraulic hits – and the company leaves to investigate new greenfields. The poisoned and ruined land remains to people.
We have created the anti-fracking working group of NGOs to monitor the situation in Ukraine, - says Oleg.
The richest European chambers of shale gas are situated in France. Fortunately, in France, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic not only fracking, but even investigation of shale gas deposits is totally forbidden. A number of European countries and US seriously limited or refused fracking technology.
Paul McCartney, Yoko Ono, Ringo Starr and Lady Gaga are doing their best to spread information about environmental hazards of fracking. Now fracking in Ukraine takes the scene. Hey, where is my ‘dislike’ button? I don’t want this. We don’t have enough resources for such appetites. Our land is beautiful without burning water, earthshaking or other special effects.
As a result of the Global Frackdown actions one of the leading Ukrainian TV-channel made a compelling news about the campaign and the risks of fracking in Ukraine. It is in Ukrainian and can be seen on YouTube.