The Endangered Wildlife Trust has warned that the Karoo will face an “uncertain future” after government approved prospecting rights for fracking .Picture: Reuters
By Norma Wildenboer
12 April 2017
Kimberley - The Endangered Wildlife Trust has warned that the Karoo and large parts of the Northern Cape face an “uncertain future” after government approved prospecting rights for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Minister of Minerals and Energy, Mosebenzi Zwane, recently announced that government policy would make provision for energy companies to start prospecting for shale gas in the Karoo.
This decision follows the release of the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for Shale Gas in 2016, which aimed to provide a more holistic assessment of the impact of shale gas extraction on the economy, environment and people.
Among the findings of the SEA report was that job opportunities within the shale gas sector would be less than what was widely proclaimed and that the availability of water would be a restricting factor for hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in the Karoo.
In August 2016, after carefully considering the available evidence, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) adopted the position that impacts from fracking are poorly understood and that the current regulatory framework is insufficiently equipped to properly regulate the activity.
It believed that the combined effect would be an unquantified risk that could not be adequately mitigated and which would present a significant risk to people’s health, landscapes and biodiversity.
EWT said that this was still its position and is “deeply concerned” about the ramifications of this announcement.
“While some people may argue that prospecting is not exploration, we foresee the issues above manifesting in the prospecting phase and that the latter will inevitably pave the way for exploration. It is also possible that factors such as the economic viability (extraction and transportation costs) and lack of water in the Karoo required for fracking will limit the scale of shale gas extraction."…..
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