South Africa Lifts Fracking Moratorium; Citizens Alarmed By U.S. Fracking Examples
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South Africa, Stern says, is a water-scarce country. If the aquifers become polluted the farming regions and food supplies would be ruined. The only winners from fracking would be industry and government. The citizens -- who stand to lose the most -- have nothing to gain.
“In South Africa the people don’t own the mineral rights, this is crucial, the government does,” said Minnaar. “So this limits public interactions, there is no financial cushion here, no money to be made by individuals. No landowners are financially rewarded here. There are only two players, industry and the government.”
That leaves concerned South Africans little choice but to find out for themselves how fracking could impact their communities. The unfortunate model of what could and is going wrong with fracking has been the United States.
“The more we learned the more scared we became,” said Lukie Strydom. “I believe everyone should go to Carter Road [in Dimock, PA] and visit Ron and Jean Carter just to smell what it is like to live in the middle of operations, to know what it’s like to live where your water well has been contaminated. The more you know the more questions you have. The oil companies should not behave in a cowboy style because it is important to communities that they are doing the job responsibly. We’re not necessarily against the operations but we are against them being done irresponsibly.”
Up against their own government and a powerful multinational, TKAG and the people of the Karoo are facing the fight of their lives. But Jonathan Deal is undaunted. “TKAG will, in the interim, continue to engage with stakeholders and organizations in opposition to fracking – local and global,” said Deal. “Our ‘appeal’ document has been ready for more than a year and when we see the conditions under which the licenses are issued, we will finalize that document and serve it on the minister in a move that will ultimately signal the start of a long battle.”
Preparations for legal opposition are underway by TKAG following the end to the fracking moratorium in the country. In Cape Town on September 22 there was a protest demanding an end to fracking at gates of Parliament, with environmental and citizens groups to coincide with the Global Frackdown on that day. .
“I am fighting to stop fracking for the same reason that communities from Wyoming to Pennsylvania don’t want it,” said Deal. “And it means the same to us, as what it does to the American public – whether landowner or city dweller – an unsustainable and polluting chase after another carbon resource.”