UK: Drilling for oil in Balcombe begins despite protests; Cuadrilla says hydraulic fracturing is safe

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Article
16 August 2013

Fracking firm scaling back operation at Balcombe (UK)

Author: BBC News

Energy firm Cuadrilla has said it is scaling back work at an exploration site in West Sussex on police advice. The company has been drilling for oil near the village of Balcombe but has not ruled out using the controversial technique of fracking to release gas. Police believe environmental activists at the site are about to begin a campaign of civil disobedience. About 1,000 extra campaigners are expected to join existing protesters...Cuadrilla said...: "After taking advice from Sussex Police, Cuadrilla is scaling back operations ahead of th[e]...No Dash For Gas event. "During this time, our main concern is the safety of our staff, Balcombe's residents and the protesters following threats of direct action against the exploration site...We will resume full operations as soon as it is safe to do so."

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Article
2 August 2013

Balcombe oil drilling begins after anti-fracking protests cause delay (UK)

Author: Robert Booth, Guardian (UK)

Drilling for oil close to the West Sussex village of Balcombe has begun following a week of blockades and protests by anti-fracking activists who fear that the possible use of the extraction method could lead to the pollution of water courses...Protesters who have been occupying the entrance to the drill...were distraught at the news...[Cuadrilla] has not ruled out the possibility of using...fracking...Opponents are afraid that fracking liquids could poison waterways in the area and could even lead to earth tremors, which they say could jeopardise the safety of a nearby railway line running into London...Cuadrilla...[says it has]"no intention of ruining the countryside and won't ruin the countryside". He said hydraulic fracturing was safe and would not pose a threat to the public or people's drinking water. [refers to BP]

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