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Fracking will make guinea pigs of communities

I would like to comment on the release of the Government report on the issue of hydraulic fracturing ('fracking').

While this report investigated the links between hydraulic fracturing and earthquakes, it did not investigate what impact fracking would have on water pollution, air pollution and radiation levels.

While the headlines screamed that 'Fracking is safe', this is not what the report said. The reality is hydraulic fracturing is a dirty process requiring an average of 5.5 million gallons of water per well mixed with a cocktail of highly toxic chemicals.

If you want proof that fracking is neither clean nor safe, look at the USA, where there has been thousands of incidents of water contamination since fracking began. In one incident reported by Bamberger -amp; Oswald in the journal New Solutions, a spillage of frack fluids into an adjacent field killed 17 cows in one hour.

In February, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health in Belfast concluded there is "insufficient current evidence to confirm that all the potential risks can be suitably reduced and/or managed within acceptable levels".

If fracking is allowed to go ahead, our political leaders are condemning communities living near gas-drilling operations to become guinea pigs in the study of environmental toxicology.

ROSS BROWN

Green Party in Northern Ireland

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