Fracking � a private profit with a concommitant public loss � a solution
Fracking is actually something of great interest � relatively clean energy which seems to be available in large or moderate quantities in western countries (which are often otherwise energy deficient despiute being large energy consumers)
BUT there are serious pollution problems which often or always affect individuals and communities close to the fracking site.
The approach so far seems to have been that the commercial outfit doing the fracking gets away scot free and the public organisations � national and local government � do little or nothing to compensate the affected populace.
There is a solution � set up a Fracking Compensation Trust Fund � which levies a fixed tax per cubic metre of fracked gas from all fracking operations, and which accepts and adjudicates all claims. It utilizes public and/or private analytical laboratories as required. It is empowered to currently or retroactively raise the normal fracking tax rate for cases where above-average negative impact was caused by a particular fracking operation. It has the power to grant and to refuse all fracking licences nationally.
It will encourage all fracking companies to conduct proper impact assessments before going ahead with any fracking operation, and probably (hopefully) to avoid some sites which are too close to population centres or highly productive agricultural land.
The question of whether the underground gas should also be treated as a national asset and should therefore be taxed over and above the tax which is set aside specifically for compensation should also be considered.
Alex Weir, Gaborone, Botswana 15 August 2013