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Cameron Defends U.K. Shale Gas Push as Path to Cheaper Energy

Cameron Defends U.K. Shale Gas Push as Path to Cheaper Energy
An anti-fracking protest sign sits in the window of a residential property near to Cuadrilla Resources Ltd.'s exploratory shale gas drill site in Balcombe. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said shale gas will bring down power bills for Britons, writing to defend his push to kick-start the industry in the country.

Cameron, whose Conservative party government has pledged to create the world’s most generous tax system for shale, wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper that the industry will also create jobs and bring money to local neighborhoods.

He said it’s a myth that fracking, the technique that blasts rock with water, sand and chemicals to release fuel, is unsafe and will damage the countryside.

Fracking has sparked protests and caused drilling delays for Cuadrilla Resources Ltd. in Balcombe, a West Sussex town in southern England. Demonstrators have also targeted drilling sites in Lancashire in the north of the country.

“Fracking has become a national debate in Britain -- and it’s one that I’m determined to win,” he wrote in the newspaper. “If we don’t back this technology, we will miss a massive opportunity to help families with their bills and make our country more competitive.”

Cameron’s comments come after Michael Fallon, the energy minister with responsibility for fracking, said earlier this month that shale reserves may be exploited in southern England.

Tim Farron, president of the Liberal Democrat party in coalition government with Cameron’s Conservatives, was quoted in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper as saying fracking may damage rural areas for decades.

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