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Published: Fri, October 06, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Actor and environmental campaigner Mark Ruffalo praises Scottish Government for fracking ban

Actor and environmental campaigner Mark Ruffalo praises Scottish Government for fracking ban

Scepticism was expressed about the ability to regulate to mitigate negative impacts and some were unconvinced about the economic benefit of the unconventional oil and gas's contribution to Scotland's energy mix.

Energy minister Paul Wheelhouse told MSPs that a public consultation had found widespread opposition to the practice in Scotland, and that the government had a "moral responsibility" to protect the environment.

In January 2015, the Scottish Government put in place a moratorium on granting consents for unconventional oil and gas developments in Scotland.

According to the Scottish government, approximately 99 per cent of the consultation responses were opposed to fracking and fewer than one per cent were in favour.

The Scottish Government said the controversial gas extraction technique "cannot and will not" go ahead due to concerns over its impact on the environment and local communities.

The extensive use of fracking in the USA, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns. A statement issued by the former United Kingdom government Department for Energy & Climate Change in June, 2014 said: "Estimates are particularly uncertain [in the Midland Valley] because the area has fewer historic wells and less seismic data than previous study areas".

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: "This is a victory for the environment and for local communities fighting fracking".

The proposed ban, which will make use of planning and environmental regulation powers devolved to Scotland from the United Kingdom government in London, will be put to the Scottish Parliament for a vote later this year.

The move comes nearly exactly a year that the United Kingdom government gave the go ahead to fracking in Lancashire.

Environmental charities hailed the ban, but industry bodies said Scotland would miss out on an economic boost and thousands of jobs.

Environmental groups Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth both welcomed the news from Edinburgh and said the executive there, run by the Scottish National Party, was leading the way towards clean energy.

"There's no doubt that when onshore oil and gas licensing powers are finally handed over it will be within the legislative competence of the Parliament to ban fracking, and that there is a powerful mandate to do so".

The Scottish government confirmed on Tuesday that it would move to back a ban on fracking in the country as it moved to finalise a vote on the matter in the Scottish Parliament by the end of the year.

"The climate science is clear". "The vast majority of fossil fuel reserves need to be left in the ground", he added.

'If the government wants to be consistent, it will now ban shale gas imports, threatening a huge number of job losses'.

Operations director Tom Pickering called it "a sad day for those of us who believe in evidence-led decision making".

Ken Cronin of UK Onshore Oil and Gas also said it was a "poor decision", which ignored "extensive independent research" and was "based on dogma not evidence or geopolitical reality".

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