'Frack Master' Joins UK Debate on Shale Gas After Losing Texas Town to Fracking Ban

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Chris Faulkner, the founder and CEO of the Texas-based Breitling Energy Corporation (BECC)warned against the ‘dangers’ of opposing fracking in the UK at an Npower-funded industry event held in London yesterday.

The “Frack Master”, a nickname acquired due to Faulkner’s “unapologetic and outspoken industry advocacy” earned the title of ‘Industry Leader of the Year’ at last year’s Oil & Gas Awards for the Southwest Region in the US.

Unfortunately, Faulkner’s ongoing success was dealt a swift blow when residents of Denton, Texas voted to ban fracking on 4 November in the face of overwhelming industry pressure.

And the “Frack Master” now fears this happening in the UK where BECC has invested heavily.

The folks in Denton were sold a bill of goods, with a bunch of malarkey strapped to it,” Faulkner stated after the debate.

I don’t want to see this magnified in places like England, which has a good chance to develop energy independence and has the support of the Prime Minister,” he continued.

Faulkner has long been an advocate for fracking in the UK and a major voice in the fracking debate.

Writing for the Guardian last year, Faulkner stated that fracking would benefit the UK economy as well as being a boost for the environment. He wrote: “opposition to fracking is a product of scientific misunderstanding – or worse, an agenda put forward by supposed environmental advocates who stand to profit if natural gas never lives up to its full potential.”

At the debate Faulkner cited a recent study by the University of Manchester which claims England could have 450 years of “self-sufficient natural gas” saying “I’m here to insure they know the facts about developing it.”

The UK fracking debate has recently intensified as growing public opposition to shale gas, sparked by reports on safety concerns, the unknown environmental impacts and now the mental health implications of living near to a fracking site have left people anxious.

Industry Pressure

But the establishment of an industry funded Task Force on Shale Gas last month has also raised concerns of a similar situation as in the US occurring here in the UK – where industry pressure groups have proven highly effective in progressing the campaign for shale gas.

Ewa Jasiewicz, a journalist debating against Faulkner for campaign group Fuel Poverty Action told DeSmogUK: “The fact we had radical direct action and community-based organising represented through a group member of Fuel Poverty Action and No Dash for Gas in this debate is a win in itself.

After 45 minutes of debate the audience conclusively voted against Faulkner’s position for fracking in the UK.

Jasiewicz said: “The general public are ahead of the game here. People like Chris Faulkner of Breitling Energy and the Big Six and other fossil fuel companies need to realise that energy and our climate cannot be left up to the market.”

The vote in Texas is being hailed as a major anti-industry victory in the wake of an energy boom that has accelerated across the US and is now worth billions of dollars.

But the court battle that will now ensue to overturn Denton’s fracking ban has been described by the “Frack Master” as a ground moving moment, with the residents of Denver not subject to earthquakes: “but the stampede of lawyers running to the area to join in the plethora of lawsuits.”

There will be more coming, including mineral rights suits and more I’m aware of but can’t discuss yet.”

Photo: Breitling Oil & Gas

Richard Heasman joined DeSmog UK as a contributing journalist in October 2014. Originally from Stamford, he graduated with an undergraduate history degree (2:1) in 2013 from the University of Lincoln. His dissertation focused on the British media’s role in shaping public opinion during the second Gulf War of 2003.

After graduating, Richard started his own online publication specialising in political-socio critiques, and now specialises in environmental topics including fracking and industry.

Richard has been published in the Ecologist as has reported for Blue and Green Tomorrow on a varied range of environmental issues.

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