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[英伦广角] 2016-08-13 英国不顾抗议 批准勘探约克郡页岩气

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[Homework]2016-08-13 英国不顾抗议 批准勘探约克郡页岩气

A generous windfall sharing the profits of fracking or a cynical bribe to buy off opponents? As fracking faces more protests and legal challenges in areas like North Yorkshire, Theresa May is promising cash handouts direct to residents affected. Until now the government was proposing to share the proceeds of shale gas only with community trusts or councils. Speaking ahead of a consultation on the plans, the Prime Minister said: “It’s about making sure people personally benefit from economic decisions that are taken - not just councils - and putting them back in control over their lives.”

Last week the Prime Minister delayed approving the new 18 billion pounds Hinkley nuclear power station in Somerset because of concerns over Chinese involvement and about value for money for taxpayers and energy consumers.

“Nobody can say that Theresa May hasn’t been bold on energy policies since becoming Prime Minister. In just a few short weeks, she scrubbed the Energy in Climate Change Department, slammed the breaks on Hinkely, and now she’s launching her shale gas shakeup.”

Fracking involves drilling deep into the earth, injecting shale rock with a high pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals to release the gas inside. Estimates suggest there could be as much as 1,300 trillion cubic feet of shale gas under the north of England, providing more than 500 years of gas supply for the U.K. Supporters claim that post Bexit, the falling pound makes it more expensive to import gas and boost the case for a reliable supply of low-cost shale gas. But opponents say it’s dangerous because it requires huge amounts of water, causes pollution and earth tremors. And they dismiss the P.M.’s cash offer as a bribe.

“I’m only in favor of subsidizing people to encourage them to do the right thing. And the trouble with fracking the shale gas is that it’s not clear that introdues the right thing. And maybe that’s the reason that the government feels that they have to try to incentivize people to do it.”

But the Prime Minister who says she wants to apply this approach to other government programs in future is clearly hoping that putting shale gas cash in people’s pockets will be persuasive in the battle over fracking.

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