The SNP refused to vote today. Instead, they abstained.
The Tories voted to support fracking.
While; Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens all voted to oppose legalizing fracking.
The final vote was passed with 32 to 29 MSPs.
This means that fracking has democratically been banned, however, it is not that simple. The SNPs refusal to vote today is frustrating for two reasons. The first is because they are elected to do a job, a job which requires them to vote on issues which are proposed to parliament. Therefore, when they abstain from voting on issues, no matter the issue, it does a disservice to the people who voted for them and it withholds the wheels which allow a democratic society to function. The criticism of abstaining on voting would be the same no matter the party.
The second reason why this issue is frustrating is because it doesn't actually ban fracking. It still leaves the door wide open for fracking to be legalized in the future. As the SNPs policy on fracking doesn't rule out fracking , it leaves the door open for fracking to happen in Scotland. There are good reasons that we should be wary about this ban on fracking. Not just because of the SNPs apparent open door policy on fracking. But, also because the SNP is guilty of undermining the democratic process. In nowhere is this more apparent than when the SNP overruled an elected council to give the go ahead to Donald Trump's golf course. A decision which was detrimental to the ecosystem, the wildlife of that area and, the people who lived (or still live) there.
The go ahead given of the golf course by the SNP was an affront to democracy, human rights, the protection of wildlife and the environment. For a democratically elected government, the golf course is more alarming for it's disregard of human rights. Something which is excellently portrayed in the documentary You've Been Trumped. People being bullied into being forcibly removed from homes they have lived in their entire lives, homes which were called'slums' by Trump, is something not reminiscent of a democracy, but something which echos the behavior of Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
What matters now is whether or not fracking is given the go ahead in Scotland. For the moment, it seems that fracking will not happen in the near future. Realistically, the possibility is real that fracking could happen in Scotland. It could still happen because the SNP are seeking 'evidence' about fracking. There is however evidence and reports about how damaging fracking is to; health, wildlife, farm animals, the environment and even property prices.
A report from theGeological Society of America has a case study providing evidence about the damages that fracking does. The report shows that fracking is damaging in three main ways. The first through air pollution, which is one of the causes of Global Warming. The second is that fracking had been polluting the water systems nearby. And, thirdly, that fracking was causing oil spills and soil contamination. There were other damages of fracking in this report too.
The findings in the GSoA's case study was also found in DEFRA's report on fracking. DEFRA found that if fracking went ahead,it would pollute nearby water systems and that it would contaminate products which come from farms (probably due to soil contamination). They also found that fracking would damage human health, and it would cause house prices to fall.
The two studies seem consistent in their approach to fracking, that fracking is damaging. They are not the only two reports, there are many out there. Requiring a moratorium of fracking is a waste of time and money, because the evidence is already there.