DRAFT REGULATIONS EXPAND FRACKING TO PROTECTED AREAS IN U.K.
Draft regulations released by the United Kingdom's Department of Energy and Climate Change surprised observers by allowing hydraulic fracturing activities in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and under protected groundwater sources. The regulations, presented to Parliament on July 16, contradict statements made in January, when Energy Secretary Amber Rudd told legislators that a fracking ban in SSSIs and national parks had been agreed to. The draft regulations would also allow fracking companies to operate adjacent to national parks and drill horizontally under them. Green Party members and environmental groups have criticized the government for reneging on previous agreements and for engaging in what they view as backroom politics. The Department of Energy responded by touting the government's track record of environmental protection coupled with industrial development. For the full story, see http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/16/government-makes-outrageous-u-turn-over-fracking-in-precious-wildlife-sites.