Taxpayers could be saddled with a massive pollution cleanup bill — bigger than the acid mine pollution problem in Gauteng — unless the government acts quickly to set up a team of properly skilled inspectors to monitor and police the emerging shale gas fracking industry.This was the warning from University of Cape Town (UCT) chemical engineer Prof Cyril O’Connor and several other senior scientists on Thursday at the start of a two-day conference to interrogate the potential impact of shale gas drilling on a huge chunk of land covering almost 172‚000km² of the Karoo.O’Connor chaired an in-depth investigation on fracking by members of the country’s top science advisory body‚ the Academy of Science of SA (Assaf). After more than two years of work‚ Assaf has produced a 350-page report on fracking that advises the government to proceed with caution before allowing Shell and other oil and gas companies to exploit methane gas in the Karoo region using an unconventional process of gas extrac...

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