Fracking for natural gas is indeed controversial. And there’s certainly a theoretic possibility that it could trigger an earthquake or two. So, sensibly, let’s have some rules about earthquake triggering from fracking. Being able to heat our houses, cook our dinner, in 2030 may or may not be worth Lancashire tumbling to the ground in its entirety.
But the question then becomes, which or what limits?
UK fracking industry pushes for review of earthquake limits
Firms say regulations forcing operations to stop if they trigger tremors greater than 0.5 magnitude threaten viability
0.5 is, as these things go, a triviality. This past month has seen 13 earthquakes in the UK of this or greater size. We’re unaware that Newdigate is - having suffered a quake near 100 times greater than this limit - now rubble.
We have a certain suspicion here. The limit is there to make sure in the unviability of the process:
Opponents said the lobbying drive showed companies were in trouble.
“We are seeing an industry that is desperate and knows it’s not viable. I think you’re really seeing an industry in its death throes,” said Jamie Peters, an anti-fracking campaigner at Friends of the Earth.
Those “safety” rules are set at a level designed to make sure that fracking cannot be done. That sounds like a really good reason to revisit them.