It’s 2014, and three people in England have already super-glued themselves to various anchored items around hydraulic fracturing sites in acts of protest.
According to a report from the Manchester Evening News, two anti-fracking protestors were arrested on Tuesday for protesting at the Barton Moss fracking site in Manchester. This was not a normal protest, however — the women reportedly parked their Blue Ford Escort in front of the site, cut a hole in the bottom of the car, placed a barrel full of concrete in the hole, and superglued themselves into the barrel.
The women — arrested for willful obstruction of a public highway — knew they would be arrested for the stunt, fellow campaigner Mandy Roundhouse told the Evening News.
“They have done letter-writing, they have done going on marches, they have tried all the other means and nothing is working so they have had to resort to this,” Roundhouse said. “It’s not a decision they have taken lightly.”
It is not the first time anti-fracking protestors in England have gone to extreme measures to protest fracking, which is a method of extracting fossil fuels that generally increases the flow of oil or gas from a well. On Thursday, another anti-fracking protester super-glued herself to the gates of Barton Moss, causing delays for trucks that usually drive through to and from the site.
“She did it to cause delays for the lorries leaving the site,” an onlooker told the Evening News. “It caused a two-hour delay, which was the whole point.”
The protests follow recent news in mid-December that two-thirds of the U.K.’s land will be available for fracking firms to license — a major fracking effort that the government reportedly hopes will result in hydraulic fracturing delivering about 25 percent of the U.K.’s annual gas needs.
Fracking is done by injecting high-pressure water and chemicals miles deep into the ground into subsurface rock, effectively “fracturing” the rock and allowing more spaces for oil and gas to come through. The tactic is generally paired with horizontal drilling.
The practice is controversial, as recent studies of health risks related to fracking have been alarming. A study released in mid-December by the journal Endocrinology found the presence of hormone-disrupting chemicals in surface water and groundwater samples in Garfield County, Colorado — one county at the center of the U.S. fracking boom. Additionally, a July study from the Proceedings of the National Academy Sciences of USA found that the closer residents live to wells used in fracking, the more likely drinking water is contaminated. And recent studies have shown how natural gas production can lead to much higher-than-expected leaks of methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.