Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Fracking Hell - Yet More Dirt Uncovered

WHAT to make of Tory Dan Byles' claims that his new all-party group on fracking will help parliament cut through "rhetoric and hyperbole on both sides" and "get to the facts"? Private Eye magazine uncovers yet more dirt...

The MP for North Warwickshire says he has drawn MPs from all sides of the debate who "simply want to better understand the truth". Yet when Greenpeace examined parliamentary records, it found the fact finders were being entirely funded by the fracking industry and run by fracking lobbyists.

Since Byles set up the group, formally called the All-Party Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas, in February it has received £25,000 from a bunch of firms including Cuadrilla, Britain's foremost fracker. The group's other funders include petrochemical giant INEOS, which lobbies for fracking and is reportedly negotiating to invest in Cuadrilla; the UK Onshore Operators Group, or frackers' trade body; and Ove Arup, the engineering firm which did the environmental impact assessment for Blackpool fracking and Norway's Statoil, and which has invested heavily in fracking in the US.

Among the 20 MPs on Byles' all-party group are such influential figures as former energy minister Charles Hendry. Byles himself also chairs the all-party environment group and is a member of the energy and climate change select committee. But the MPs on the fracking committee need not overtax themselves by actually running it: happily for all concerned, its "secretariat" is provided free by Edelman - a lobbying firm which represents Cuadrilla and other frackers!
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