Campaign groups protest over fracking companies ‘behind-the-scenes’ EU influence

| April 24, 2015 | 0 Comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn investigation by two campaign groups says that fracking companies are dominating the “behind-the-scenes” agenda on EU fracking policies.

Friends of the Earth Europe and Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) claim that the promotion and expansion of controversial fracking in Europe has become the “core aim” of an advisory network set up by the European Commission last year.

The body was supposed to assess on-going fracking projects and the safety and appropriateness in Europe of different technologies.

Friends of the Earth Europe originally joined the expert network to “highlight the dangers” of shale gas development to citizens and the environment.

But Friends of the Earth Europe says that “after it became apparent that the pro-shale gas agenda is controlling the group” it has now decided to walk out.

The two groups are calling for the new advisory network to be recognised as a “front” for industry lobbying and to be scrapped.

Antoine Simon, of Friends of the Earth Europe, told this website, “While a ‘science and technology network’ on unconventional fossil fuels sounds objective, it’s a complete façade. The European Commission is giving the fracking industry all the seats at the top table and crowding out citizens and groups with legitimate concerns about this dirty industry.”

The groups say that a look at “who’s who” in the advisory network paints a “worrying picture” of the “dirty energy dominance” of the commission’s shale gas policy.

According to the two groups, of the members who are not employed by the European Commission:

  • More than 70% represent or have financial links to the fracking industry, while fewer than 10% represent civil society.
  • Those in the top jobs – the five chairs of the body’s working groups – either work for the fracking industry, are from pro-fracking governments or fracking industry-friendly bodies.
  • Fracking industry giants such as Cuadrilla, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Total, ExxonMobil, and GDF Suez are all represented in what is “in essence” an “in-house” shale gas lobby on European Commission energy strategy.

Further comment came from Pascoe Sabido, of CEO, who said: “While the Commission is crowing from the rooftops about its climate ambitions as we get closer to crucial climate talks in Paris, its cosy relationship with the fossil fuel industry ensures fracking is being ushered in through the back door.

“This not only smacks of hypocrisy, but it ignores the millions calling for an end to fracking and for fossil fuels to be left in the ground. But this case is not a one off. Privileged access for dirty industry is endemic among the Commission’s advisory groups.

“Hopefully, the European Ombudsman’s on-going investigation should be enough of a wake-up call to fix the problem once and for all.”

With the fracking industry already said to be responsible for “substantial” environmental damage around the world and widespread public opposition to it across Europe, the two groups says it is “deeply concerning” that the fracking industry has “such a dominant” position in evaluating its own performance.

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Category: A Frontpage, Economy, Energy, EU, European Commission, Fracking, Politics

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