UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has voiced his full support of the controversial hydraulic fracturing oil and gas extraction method, saying he would like to see fracking all over the UK's countryside.
Speaking in front of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, the Tory Cabinet minister said fracking would boost jobs and growth and reassured there was a robust regime for ensuring safety and preventing negative side-effects.
Paterson dismissed the public backlash against the controversial method, saying its opponents are winning in the public perception battle thanks to the fact that they wear ‘exciting clothes’.
Despite the widespread support from senior governmental figures, including Prime Minister David Cameron, environmentalists have criticised the method that involves pumping water enriched with special chemicals into the ground under pressure to cause fracturing and release of the trapped gas and oil. They believe fracking will neither reduce energy prices nor bring widespread economic benefits. Moreover, they fear, fracking could pose a serious environmental threat, polluting water resources and possibly trigger earthquakes.
Paterson addressed those concerns during the questioning, saying a minor earthquake was happening "every single day" somewhere in Britain, and insisted there were rigorous checks on the effects of the mining.
He has further encouraged fracking supporters to step forward and help make the case.