In Parliament I warned the Prime Minister that our local environment is at risk from the US-EU trade deal, TTIP.
I said: "Britain is taking great leadership in environmental policy in Europe and beyond. Will the Prime Minister use the Paris conference to press the EU to ensure that imperatives on climate change from that conference are fully integrated into the US-EU free trade agreement, so that companies do not fine Governments when they pass legislation to meet stronger emissions targets?"
The Prime Minister replied saying that is was “an important point” that would need to be “properly dealt with”. The PM also affirmed the importance of implementing the agreements made at the Paris conference in the UK and EU.
As it stands our environmental standards are at risk. In Swansea it is important that our beaches and rivers are kept safe from fracking companies and others who will use the provisions of TTIP as it puts profits before public and environmental interests, I am glad I put this issue squarely on the Prime Minister’s radar.
Over 500 people contacted me concerned that TTIP will put too much power in the hands of companies, I am committed to ensuring that my constituents are properly respected and the agreement is changed.
Last year I led a Parliamentary debate in which dozens of MPs contributed, calling for greater scrutiny of TTIP. It is important that the Prime Minister is properly engaged with this important agreement that could undermine our environment. The needs of our environment must be genetically edited into the EU-US free trade agreement, so that greater trade occurs alongside our environmental surroundings.
Investment rules governing multinationals simply cannot trump agreements about our environment made at the Paris climate change conference. I will continue to press the government on the US-EU trade deal.
GERAINT DAVIES TELLS FLOODS MINISTER: CLIMATE CHANGE MEANS WE NEED FLOOD PROTECTION SOONER, NOT LATER
Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea West, has said in Parliament this week that climate change means investment in flood defences will have to be even higher than previously thought following the 2007 floods, when higher investment was demanded in the Pitt review.
Challenging Elizabeth Truss, the Environment Secretary, in Parliament, Davies said “Does the Secretary of State not accept what is happening with climate change? Once-in-200-year events have now become once-in-100-years events, and it was accepted at the Paris conference that another 2 degrees would probably be added to world temperatures. There is surely no excuse for not investing more and more—even more than we planned to invest following the 2007 Pitt review. Will the Secretary of State urge the Government to invest even more than is proposed under the current agreement?”
The Environment Secretary responded by saying that the Government is “reviewing our national resilience and looking at our climate change models. Climate change is currently built into our six-year plan.” Following Davies’ point, she also said, “we clearly need to look at [climate change] again in the light of recent events.”
Speaking afterwards, Geraint Davies said “It is not good enough that the government simply reacts to recent flooding events, when the world has already accepted that we will see another 2 degrees rise in temperatures by 2050, which inevitably means more flooding.”
Davies added, “Before becoming an MP, my role through the Environment Agency was to provide flood defences across Wales, and we must adopt a more creative approach to land use management and storage, so that water is held upstream and also prevented from overflowing into our sewers by rainwater capture off roofs.”
Geraint Davies MP’s Bill means Fracking must put safety first, learn from Paris COP & avoid TTIP threat
Geraint Davies MP's Fracking Regulation Bill, presented today, would ensure tight controls over water and air contamination and carbon emissions from fracking. This would ensure fracking was not in breach of the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) agreements nor shoe-horned through EU free trade deals with the US (TTIP) and Canada (CETA).
Said Geraint Davies MP “I'm committed to ensure that our environment, water and air are not contaminated by an unregulated rush which puts public health and our environment at risk in the name of fracking. The safety standards for fracking that the Government is planning are set to be reduced by the new regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority, to lower standards than the Environment Agency would impose so that water and air contaminated by fracking puts the public at risk. The standards need to be high enough to put public health and safety above corporate interests and to assure a transparent and reliable regulation. That is why this bill is needed.
“The plan to apply the principle of “LARA” – as low as reasonably achievable – to contamination of water and air from fracking is simply unacceptable and amounts to a reckless risk to public health. Our water and air must be uncontaminated and what we drink and breath cannot contain contamination ‘as low as reasonably possible’ which would put people’s health at risk. The Government should not gamble with people’s health in a reckless rush to exploit shale gas. “
“I’m conscious of the risks having worked for Environment Agency heading up a team adapting Wales to climate change before becoming an MP. President Bush may have exempted fracking from the clean air and water regulations in the US but public health risks must not be allowed in Britain.”
“People need to realise that fracking isn’t simply pumping water into the ground to harmlessly push out methane. It also involves pumping in hundreds of chemicals and sand into the ground with the water to lubricate fracking so gas can flow and fractures don’t close up. Many of the 600 chemicals used in fracking are toxic, some are carcinogenic and fracking releases radioactivity, in particular radon, from the rocks.”
“Typically 6 million gallons of water goes in per well and 3 million gallons of contaminated water comes out with the rest staying underground. The rock is fractured about 10,000 feet (one and a half miles) down to release methane gas pumped up the pipe with the help of chemicals. The industry say that the water table is nearer the surface e.g. top two or three hundred foot and so they say there is no risk of contaminating the water table with this fracked fluid.”
“The environmental risks are that the contaminated water left underground could enter the water system, that contaminated water leaks out when pipes fracture and that contaminated water pumped out is not treated but dumped instead and enters our water supply.”
“We simply don’t have the water purification systems and technology in place in Britain and should be wary of dumping that has often occurred in the US in waste ponds in the countryside that could contaminate the water supply.”
“There have also been 140 recorded examples of water contamination from fractured concrete casings of drill pipes in the US but no one has been prosecuted because of exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Directive granted by President Bush. Fracking in the US is also exempt from the Clean Air Act so frackers don’t have to worry about Radon and methane contaminating the air.”
“In the US wells tend to be every mile with horizontal drilling radiating outwards. 25000 new wells were started last year. Each well leads to some loss of methane into the atmosphere and at the end of the process they vent the well to prevent explosions which leads to more methane in the atmosphere. This is harmful to global warming in addition to the CO2 emitted when the methane is burnt.”
“In Poland the fracking industry couldn’t get a good combination of chemicals to get the gas out so they produced lots of dry wells with technical difficulties. Therefore basing an energy future on fracking is ridiculous given the lack of evidence. In Poland it wasted a huge amount of money.”
“My private bill would require the Government to measure and regulate the impact of unconventional gas extraction on air and water quality and on greenhouse gas emissions. We cannot allow fracking to proceed without ensuring that our water and air will remain uncontaminated. That’s why I’m calling for the Government to support my bill and not put public health and our environment to be put at risk.”
“We have already discovered four times as much fossil fuel as is needed to increase global temperatures over the two degree tipping point so fracking isn’t needed and is accelerating global warming towards an environmental catastophe.” The Paris Climate Conference COP21 makes it clear that unregulated fracking is unsustainable.”
“Meanwhile the EU free trade deals with the US (TTIP) and Canada (CETA) mean that fracking consents without adequate environmental safeguards will lead to a choice between growing public risks or intolerable fines on government from fracking companies. These companies will sue government in privately held arbitration courts for lost profits from environmental safeguards not originally required. That is why this bill to get the standards right at the outset could save the Government billions.”
“US fracking company Lone Pine sued the Canadian Government for hundreds of millions of dollars when Quebec introduced a moratorium on fracking. Let’s not let that happen in Britain.”