Labour set to ignite political bonfire with anti-shale gas fracking motion in Holyrood

Shale Fergus Ewing frackin sacking 10 Apr 2016The Labour Party in Scotland has put down a motion for debate in Holyrood tomorrow  (1 Jun) which aims to exploit acute divisions within the minority SNP government over shale energy.

The SNP is as divided on shale gas energy as the Tory party is divided on British Independence from the EU-Block.

The motion by Labour list-MSP Claudia Beamish aims to embarrass the SNP and highlight these divisions. It is likely to be supported by the Greens and the Liberals.

Only the Tories support shale gas exploration onshore in Scotland.

Beamish said that there is ‘overwhelming’ scientific evidence confirming climate change as a major global threat,” and warned that allowing fracking would run “contrary to meeting Scotland’s climate change goals and damage the environment.

She added: “The overwhelming consensus amongst scientists is that to tackle climate change we need to develop low carbon sources of energy.

“Developing another fossil fuel through fracking would be bad for our environment and make it even more difficult to meet our climate change obligations.

“Before the election Nicola Sturgeon told people she was very sceptical about fracking, but now she has been re-elected First Minister she has the chance to live up to her rhetoric.

“We are very clear – no ifs, no buts, no fracking with Labour.

“The SNP’s temporary pause on fracking isn’t good enough. Communities across Scotland want a permanent ban on fracking in Scotland.”

Claudia Beamish
Claudia Beamish

However, the Labour Party in Scotland is not immune from the accusation of political opportunism, with party leader Kezia Dugdale only coming out of the political closet against shale energy on the eve of  the Holyrood elections. 

After having effectively sacked the ‘too pro shale’ Scottish Energy Minister (Fergus Ewing) – as exclusively, and correctly, forecast before the Holyrood general election by Scottish Energy News – Sturgeon then appointed a new Scottish Energy Minister (Paul Wheelhouse) because he parrots her ‘deeply sceptical’ policy on shale. (see below)

Scottish Energy News 10 April 2016 WE TOLD YOU FIRST 

Shale-sceptic Sturgeon to fire Fergus Ewing as Scottish Energy Minister over fracking

The SNP-led Scottish government in the last parliament commissioned a reported for its own independent scientific advisers who conclude that shale energy exploration could be safely carried out in Scotland. This was a clever move by then Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing to ‘long-grass’ the issue and take the issue off the political agenda in the run-up to the British and Scottish general elections.

Yet despite all the independent scientific evidence, Sturgeon claimed in her party’s Holyrood manifesto that no shale gas drilling could be carried out in Scotland ‘unless it could be proved that it would cause no harm’.

This is absurd – because it is impossible to prove a negative. And on the same (flawed) logic, the SNP would impose a permanent ban on motor vehicles and aircraft because it cannot be proven that they will not cause harm to people and/or the environment.

However, scunnered by the ongoing ‘temporary’ moratorium on shale gas exploration – pending the conclusion of a (nother) Scottish government ‘evidence-based’ scientific study – INEOS has abandoned its plans to explore for shale gas in Scotland.

The company already has licences for exploration drilling (from the UK Govt) across the Central Belt and in a number of locations in northern England. INEOS  is importing super-tanker loads of shale gas from the US because of dwindling ‘Scottish’ supplies from the North Sea to feed its petro-chem refinery at Grangemouth, which produces chemicals and plastics vital for every-day living – including products used in the NHS.

A spokesman for INEOS said Scotland is “missing out on the shale gas revolution at a time when North Sea oil and gas revenues were in decline.

“We have effectively redeployed our resources south of the Border now and we are putting all our efforts in England. We are still in the moratorium [in Scotland] and we have been fairly clear with the government that the delay isn’t helpful.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Energy Minister said: “We are deeply sceptical about fracking and have ensured that no fracking can take place in Scotland by putting in place a moratorium.

“We’ve also put in place a very thorough research programme and plans for a public consultation so that any decision is based on both evidence and public opinion – a move which has been welcomed by both environmental organisations and industry.

“Unless it can be proven beyond doubt that there is no risk to health, communities or the environment, there will be no fracking or unconventional gas extraction in Scotland.”

See also Scottish Energy News 23 May 2016

UK fracking application for shale gas energy is approved by local council

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