Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Day 30 in the Cuadrilla House...

Day 30 in the Cuadrilla House… and the good people grow impatient for the end to come for this site, this draining demand on our lives and this vile industry’s threat to our country. Grateful though for the incredible and ongoing solidarity shown by other activists and again today, Bolton Against Fracking for another ‘PUP’ (Pop Up Protest) at contractor AE YAtes of Bolton. The success we saw last week – the withdrawal of agreements to supply the frackers - shows the brilliant impact this tactic can have. Since this tactic started though, suppliers are having to react and today's trucks were masked; made anonymous by stuck-on black bin liners and *masking tape. (*masking tape does not work on embossed letters). The scene grows more absurd by the day as the harms are guided through and the honour to challenge this – held back. Some beauty and heart came to the site today with Helen who brought sweet scented little flower bouquets with ‘thank you’ notes for the Protectors… we attached them to the fencing and tried to make some joy amidst the rage.

So the days pass and the road under construction grows a route to the area where the pad is planned to be and we each in our own ways, act to prevent this. Today trucks were slow-walked and entrances and exits to the site blocked by the bodies of Protectors. Trucks were followed and one stripped of its mask. I wondered how they felt when they covered the name of their company and had to hide from the shame of what they do - and the repercussions we assure them it will bring? AE Yates of Bolton were again gifted the presence of Protectors this morning in order to hinder their business and facilitation of this industry with it.

We will not stop and every new challenge is faced because for every threat and angle to attack it, there is a Protector who will find a way. Sometimes our actions feel small but the effect of them, ripples through stock markets, board rooms, chat forums of investors and in the offices of potential and existing suppliers. Ripples don’t do drama though and so without a bang or a crash – the days can feel ineffective. Then I go to the forums to read what investors say about what's going on with AJ Lucas (key Australian company behind Cuadrilla)… those on the forums believe in fracking, dislike Protectors and are currently struggling to decide whether shares worth having – especially with payback on loans due:

From the Investor Forum in AUstralia - comments by shareholders watching us and Cuadrilla:
[The dilution and debt service are hurting small investors like us big time and so that is my gripe. While I agree the protesters are thick in their rationale and thin in their member numbers it is clear that things can get out of hands because they are desperate got nothing to lose and extreme in their view and resolve. Just look at their despicable tactic by intimidating Caudrilla local suppliers. I believe these nuisances intrusion will and have slowed down the progress of site building. ]

[I don't see how any long term holders can be positive about their experience in holding AJ Lucas. Sorry but there were plenty of rigs operational in the best parts of the Eagle Ford and Bakken during 2015 . Many companies were not just drilling out (and completing) undeveloped sweet spots but infill drilling - i.e. not adding new reserves , just expensively producing existing reserves faster to increase cash flow to service debt to avoid breaching banking/bond covenants .]

[UK shale investment is either ball of steel or fool courage. Like any pioneering industry it is high risk high return stake. I believe the drive down on AJL share price is to shake out the weaker holders ..I too am making a large loss. And even more so with upcoming dilution and missed opportunity.. Regarding Kerogen (loan to AJ Lucas) they are in my view the unknown factor. But in my view they seem to be committed to see it through because they holding AJL by the ball with the interest loan secured by AJL asset (presumably Caudrilla asset as security against the loan).]

[I'm based in the UK and it is a crying shame that spineless politicians at national and local level have done virtually everything possible to slow this down. Needless to say I've lost a large proportion of my investment due to them .]

[Centrica, Riverstone and others haven't spent the time, been frustrated by project delays, or spent millions of dollars just to be left at the alter.]

What we have been doing as a frack free movement for 6 years, has meant Cuadrilla has only ever spend their investors’ cash and has NEVER returned their trust with a functioning gas production site. Each of us intend on keeping it this way… as the chap in the forum post above said of us – we have nothing to lose (well aside from our health, our sleep and our time – but the future and our children are worth so much more than those things). Wrote late tonight because today despite its moments of beauty, was another that included outright rage, shouting and verbal assault… though never from staff on site or police.

Fellow Protector from the roadside Miranda Cox has her view of the day up next – to give balance and perspective. See you tomorrow?

View from Miranda:
[My thoughts on day 30.
This is very personal. Reflection after a day on the roadside protest sometimes is cathartic, soothing the anger and frustration, helping to process events in a way that enables me to carry on. Tonight's reflection isn't so. I'm reviewing photos and other people's videos and my frustration isn't lessening. More and more I am realising it's down to us, the protectors in all our forms, documenting traffic breaches, calling out safety issues time and time again. It's not just enough for us to say we said NO, our council said NO, we now have to show strength daily in whatever form of protest we individually choose, we also have to have the heightened awareness to document and call out every issue we see. Live streaming, videoing and photography of the detail is all building a picture, a picture of a growing resistance and growing anger. It's also revealing the seeming collusion at worse, or at least the inability, from authorities to take action. Private citizens would not be allowed to cover registration plates or drive dangerously. Private citizens are not it seems permitted to protest without huge police presence.

This resistance will continue. Each of us will do what we can and what we are comfortable doing.

I am grateful to the protector who lay down in the road today and was joined by others. They successfully halted vehicles leaving, this blocking those wanting to enter site for one and a half hours. I am also grateful to the keen sighted protector who saw a vehicle attempt to enter the site contravening the traffic plan, resulting in a number of protectors running to demand it be sent around (another delay). I am grateful for the regular live streamer who caught two HGVS with registration plates covered. I am grateful to the two young people who turned up to find out more, and who are wanting to engage people in the resistance. I am grateful to those looking at the land and history of this place, who see it for more than just a field. I am grateful for those enduring cold up at camp. I am grateful for every visit from a councillor. I am grateful for every single person who is here who finds whatever motivation from within to make a stand and say ENOUGH.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, there may be irritation, shouting and sadness, but there will be also a lot of laughter, debate and possible dancing.]

*Highlight visual of the day: Helen with a beautiful basket of flowers and much welcome smile and kindness.

*Best sound of the day: Dawn’s new super-loud car horn and twice as loud little passengers