Hydraulic fracking sustainability assesment : case of study Luena (Cantabria, Spain)
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ABSTRACT: The opposition to Hydraulic fracturing in Cantabria, has led the Regional Government to enact a law that prohibits their use in the region, which has been suspended by the Central Government. The objective of this work is to Identify impacts on the environment, and the main economic and social factors (sustainability) in a case of study Luena research permit (with an estimated shale gas reserves of 10.34*109 Nm3), establishing a guide for assessing the activity of hydraulic fracturing under the rules of strategic environmental assessment of plans and programs The results indicate that the greatest impacts of developing the technique in the Luena permit, are on land take and the groundwater pollution, which could affect the water supply of the urban area of Santander (Very High). Judged as High Risk are air releases, with HAPs and total methane emissions, surface water pollution, biodiversity and traffic. Profitability is strongly conditioned to lower implementation costs of the well, determined by the development of technology in Europe, not being profitable at current costs. The employment is estimated in 5000 jobs in total, although mostly temporary, and outside the community. There is a risk of human health effects at sites located within the 1/2 mile radio, with headaches and increased risk for cancer. As a conclusion it is noticed that the large-scale development of fracking in a Region represents a substantial energetic change that should be contemplated in the Energy Plan of a Region and Country. Environmental and health effects should be evaluated on the basis of Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. Other aspects of sustainability (economic and social) must be taken into account to make a final decision.