Municipality pledges to probe fracking

CHRIS Hani District Municipality is set to do what Treasure the Karoo Action Group is hoping the national government will still decide is necessary. The step? To appoint a team of experts to investigate fracking, the controversial drilling method Shell wants to use to explore for and extract gas from shale beds deep beneath the Karoo.

Speaking to The Herald at a public participation meeting in Middelburg on Friday, Chris Hani senior health practitioner Siyabulelela Vellem correct  told The Herald the muncipality knows about fracking and “we do not want to take it lightly.

“So we will be appointing a team of specialists to look at the advantages and disadvantages. We are busy now with the procurement process.”

The clock is ticking, however.

According to the official time-frames, the last opportunity for public comment is April 14, which would give the Chris Hani investigators, even if they were appointed tomorrow, little time for a comprehensive probe.

But Shell indicated at the Middelburg meeting that there will be a further opportunity for public input into the final environmental management plan.

Vellem said that whatever the deadline – the team would be appointed, fracking would be investigated and study results would submitted before the deadline.

Treasure the Karoo Action Group has called for the national government to declare at the very least a moratorium on fracking applications until a comprehensive study has been undertaken and completed and its results considered. The group represents a coalition of farmers, game reserve managers, businessmen and communities opposing Shell’s fracking application.


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