Catholic response to ‘fracking’.
The Roman Catholic National Justice and Peace Network (NJPN) has recently published a briefing report, only 13 pages long and in ‘plain English”, on ‘fracking’ (the horizontal drilling and high pressure fracturing of shale rock to extract gas).
This is very relevant to OLOTV parishioners, as the Government has now signed extraction licences with fracking companies for this area, specifically the area which includes Sabden, Pendle Hill, Pendleton, and half way along Whalley Road towards Clitheroe. The habitat impact assessment shows a wider area potentially affected covering the whole of Clitheroe and extending as far as Newton and Whitewell to the North West and Gisburn to the North East. More licences will follow, further extending the area affected in future.
The report provides an excellent summary of what is involved in fracking, the technical and scientific arguments for and against, and the potential local and global impact. It also draws on Catholic Social Teaching principles (CST) in seeking to evaluate what the Catholic Church’s response might be, in particular in the context of Pope John Paul ll’s encyclical, “The Gospel of Life”, Pope Benedict’s “Ten Commandments for the Environment”, and Pope Francis’ “Laudate Si”.
The NJPN recommends that fracking should not be supported in the UK, because “Britain should be leading the world in shifting away from fossil fuels and towards clean and sustainable energy, rather than trying to extract ever more inaccessible fossil fuels”, stating that “In making this recommendation we are taking a moral decision that we believe is most likely to favour the common good and meet our Christian obligations founded on love of God and respect for His creation”. The report concludes by saying: “The challenge for each of us is how to bring Christian love to the debate about fracking, applying the prism of love to the known facts, dilemmas and areas of uncertainty. We may come to different conclusions from each other but we should all ensure those conclusions are based on complete transparency and honesty”.
Reading this report will help discussion and response when the companies involved locally apply for Planning Permission for their permanent drilling rigs.
The report can be found on the internet at: http://www.justice-and-peace.org.uk/environment/fracking-briefing-paper-njpn-environment-working-group/