The first shipment of American fracked gas was set to arrive in a Scottish port on Tuesday, to the dismay of environmental campaigners on both sides of the Atlantic.
A tanker carrying 27,500 cubic meters of ethane from U.S. shale fields had reportedly reached Grangemouth, the site of the petrochemicals plant owned by multinational corporation Ineos, but was prevented from unloading its cargo due to high winds. According to the local Falkirk Herald, the so-called "Dragon-class" ship will now dock on Wednesday.
But anti-fracking activists in Scotland and in Pennsylvania—where the fracked gas originated—oppose the delivery no matter when it takes place.
"It is completely unacceptable to attempt to prop up the Grangemouth plant on the back of environmental destruction across the Atlantic," said Mary Church, head of campaigns for Friends of the Earth Scotland, on Tuesday. "Only today we have heard from the U.K. Climate Change Committee that global warming is already impacting Scotland, and that we should expect to see an increase in extreme weather events like last year's floods. To pursue a future for the Ineos plant based on the consumption of ever more fossil fuels is utterly irresponsible in the context of what we know about the devastating impacts of climate change."
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Meanwhile, across the ocean, those who have been impacted by the controversial drilling practice begged Scotland not to further support a destructive industry.
"Americans are being sacrificed by having this production near their homes, schools and farms," read a statement from Citizens for Clean Water a group based in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.
"I have witnessed first hand how the fracking industry has brought permanent damage across the Pennsylvania region, polluted our air, land, and water and is destroying our livelihoods," added Ron Gulla, a former resident of Hickory, Pennsylvania, who leased his own land for fracking in 2002. "Those living near drilling, infrastructure, or waste sites have suffered water contamination, spills, wastewater dumping, and gas leaks, as well as multiple health impacts."
And Mark Lichty, executive producer of the cautionary documentary Groundswell Rising, declared in a statement:
The arrival of the Ineos Dragon ships in the U.K. is not an event to celebrated, but rather to be mourned. The event means the message and commitments made in Paris, go virtually unheeded. Fracked gas with its methane and carbon dioxide emissions fuels the climate crises. The earth speaks resoundingly of its climate-induced pain through unprecedented heat waves, floods, forest fires, etc.
The infrastructure to process the gas is a black hole sucking money into it that could be spent on a bright, job-producing, alternative future.
Voices are beginning to be heard that we must have a WWII style mobilization effort to rise to the climate crises. Then as now this is an enemy we can combat. Let the U.K. and U.S. stand together. United we stand, divided we fall.
The Independent reports that Ineos "plans to eventually transport more than 800,000 tons of ethane, using eight specially built ships, across the Atlantic every year—and claims this new supply could 'revolutionize' U.K. manufacturing."
Ineos, which is sourcing its fracked gas from a company with a spotty safety record in the U.S., is also hoping to frack for gas itself—and to "lead a U.K. and European shale gas revolution"—despite Scotland's current moratorium on the practice.
With that in mind, fracktivists on Tuesday called again for the Scottish government "to act swiftly to ban fracking and start planning seriously for a fair transition to a low carbon economy across all sectors."
"Fracking should not happen here in Scotland," said Church, "and our country should not profit from it happening anywhere else."