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Ivo Vegter Reflects on Recent Fracking Debates

Extreme EnvironmentIn the Daily Maverick, Ivo Vegter has written about a road trip he went on recently that included stops at various towns to debate shale gas drilling (fracking). The first of these debates was held in Prince Albert in the Karoo at the Leesfees that took place early this month, where Vegter was joined in discussion by Jonathan Deal, chairman of the Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG).

Vegter questions TKAG’s methods, saying that they are not willing to discuss their claims in the public sphere and that he believes their claims are “dubious or exaggerated”. Vegter feels that environmental groups could add value by helping to develop regulations that drilling companies could be held accountable to.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been on an extended road trip to a number of towns and cities across the country, where I had the opportunity to discuss shale gas drilling in particular, and environmental exaggeration in general. What I learned did not redeem organised environmentalism in my opinion.

However, I also met people who demonstrated that the environmental movement is not representative. It may be more visible and grab more sensational headlines, but I found much support for the view that environmental concerns and economic development are not mutually exclusive, and that neither is served by rhetorical exaggeration.

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