IN NORTH DAKOTA they’re having a right old punch-up about fracking and water.

At the confluence of the Missouri river and the Ohio, river depth is between four and seven metres below normal as the state’s politicians divert hundreds of millions of gallons of water to oil fracking companies.

It is expected the river will have to close for two months in order to feed the fracking companies’ thirst. Apart from the devastating impact on wildlife and wild plants, a closure will cause major headaches for those who are used to shipping $7 billion of products along this stretch of river.

There is also the issue of the pollution and destruction that occurs as countryside is turned into an industrial landscape.

All this is happening in a state roughly the same size as the UK but with a population of only 600,000, while we have more than 60 million.

I can only imagine the noise and protest in the shires once it becomes clear how fracking, with its huge reservoirs of polluted water, will impact on the countryside.

Rows of graceful, non-polluting wind turbines and the replacement of our existing nuclear power stations may, on reflection, appear far more appealing than fracking.

Christian Vassie, Blake Court, Wheldrake, York.


• I AM happy to agree to differ with Philip Roe (Letters, December 13) about the merits of the respective appearance of wind turbines and nuclear power stations, and I fully respect his opinions on this point.

My main concern, which the shortening of my published letter obscured, is that decisions about sustainable energy supplies in the face of global warming are too important to be made on the basis of aesthetic judgments alone, whether mine, Mr Roe’s, or anyone’s.

More serious is Mr Roe’s refusal to accept that man-made climate change is occurring. Yes, cyclical natural climate change also happens, but there is overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity has contributed to rapid global warming in recent decades.

This warming has resulted in climate instability whose effects are being seen worldwide in different ways – including this year’s washout summer in Britain.

Mark Gladwin, Huntington Road, York.