Anti-fracking lobby announces new legal campaign to fight government over shale gas mining

The Treasure Karoo Action Group (TKAG) has refocused its legal strategy in preparation for an all out confrontation with the South African Government to prevent fracking in the Karoo.

In addition the group has concluded agreements with like-minded opposition groups to form a broad alliance in opposition to fracking and will be making an announcement on this during the week.

“We have engaged the well established firm of Cullinan & Associates who will bring fresh thinking and decades of experience to our approach at this critical time in our campaign”, said Jonathan Deal, Chairman of the Treasure Karoo Action Group.

Last year South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) imposed a moratorium on fracking with the aim of implementing a study into the environmental impact of the controversial form of shale gas extraction, which has been banned, or is under moratorium or restriction in at least 150 jurisdictions around the world.

It is anticipated that DMR technical report will be presented to the Cabinet early in August 2012 after which cabinet will make its decision on whether or not to lift the moratorium and allow exploratory drilling.

Companies that have applied to use the environmentally damaging process, include Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd. and Bundu Oil & Gas (Pty) Ltd.

Fear that the licenses would be granted were raised when Energy Minister Peters noted during a recent departmental meeting that: “It would be wrong for us to not use the resources that God left us with. This is a blessing that God gives us, and we need to exploit for the benefit of the people” before noting that 
the people of the Karoo were “going hungry.”

“We have been preparing for the moratorium to be lifted for a long time,” said Deal.

“Now in the run up to the decision by government we are refocusing our efforts to present a high powered, well prepared legal campaign which we believe will halt the minster in her tracks.

“For this we have selected the best legal minds that we can get to assist us to take this matter to the constitutional court if needs be.”

“And we believe we have the support of right thinking South Africans as we move forward.”

“We are not deterred by the fact that a number of people may have been influenced by Shell’s relentless pro fracking propaganda regarding the size of the gas deposit to the number of jobs that could be created.” said Deal. “We also know that Shell has been less than open with the truth about the irreversible damage to the environment that fracking causes and the figures surrounding jobs.”

“The Government’s dramatic reversal over e-tolling in Gauteng after massive public outcry earlier this year has shown that ordinary people are sick and tired of government riding rough-shod over the will of the people whose lives are most impacted upon by their often ill-considered decisions.”

Our message to government is; “if you rule in favour of fracking, under the current circumstances, prepare for a long and costly legal battle as the people who will be most affected fight back “.

Issued by: TREASURE KAROO ACTION GROUP
treasurethekaroo.co.za

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