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UPDATE: Fracking a threat to water in South Africa

Durban-based Blue Planet Project organizer Mary Galvin has identified to us the threat posed by fracking in South Africa.

National Geographic recently reported, “South Africa is estimated to have the fifth largest volume of shale gas in the world – some 7.3 percent of the global total – and most of that gas is in the Karoo. …The Karoo, a semi-desert region of the eastern Cape, (is) famed for its beauty, …the richest diversity of succulents on the planet, and is home to many unique species of lizards and tortoises, as well as the riverine rabbit, one of the most endangered mammals in all of Africa. The region also supports a diverse and bountiful array of agricultural products, from wool and meat to fruits, olives, wine and honey.”

One of the leading opponents of fracking in South Africa is Jonathan Deal. “Deal had just been awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize for his successful grassroots effort to win a moratorium on fracking in South Africa. …In early 2011, Deal read of plans by the oil company Royal Dutch Shell to apply for exploratory permits to drill for natural gas in the Karoo. The drilling would be done by fracking, which involves … chemicals …known or suspected (to be) carcinogens. Each fracking well consumes 1-8 million gallons of water. …Deal formed the Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) and led a team of scientists, legal experts, and volunteers in preparing a report on the risks of fracking in the Karoo. …In April 2011, the South African government announced a nationwide moratorium on fracking. …But the moratorium lasted only 17 months: in September 2012, the government lifted it. …Three companies, including Shell, have (now) applied to the government to drill on 230,000 square kilometers of land in South Africa.”

Deal argues that we can’t beat fracking country by country, we need a global alliance. “While in the United States, Deal worked to start building the alliances he feels are necessary to stop the global march of fracking. In addition to visiting communities across the country, he is strengthening ties with Americans Against Fracking, a coalition of some 270 disparate organizations, including 350.org, Breast Cancer Action, Food and Water Watch, and New Yorkers Against Fracking.”