Three-Year Old Report on Fracking Risks Quietly Published This Week After Cuadrilla Permit Awarded

Ineos and Cuadrilla benefited from the delay in publication and their permits should be revoked, says advocacy group

Washington, D.C. and Brussels — In 2015, the UK Government’s Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) wrote a report citing the increase of national pollution emissions that would be caused by proposed shale development in Britain.

Before the report was finally published this week, Public Health England, UK’s official body for the improvement of the nation’s health and wellbeing, always concluded that “the risks to public health from exposure to emissions from shale gas extraction are low if operations are properly run and regulated.”

Now, the AQEG report warns that “Impacts on local and regional air quality have the potential to be substantially higher than the national level impacts, as extraction activities are likely to be highly clustered. Studies in the US have shown significant impacts on both local air quality and regional ozone formation, but similar studies have not yet been undertaken for the UK.“

In response, Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“The apparent suppression of this important report has helped the fossil fuel industry’s plans to turn communities into sacrifice zones. This inevitable industrialisation that goes along with shale development and the need to take the cumulative impacts into account was clearly highlighted in several formal comments against fracking plans in the UK.

“However, the UK Government chose to ignore the known risks and instead, gave companies like Cuadrilla and Ineos the go-ahead for their plans to frack – mostly for plastics.

“The public knows the dangers fracking poses to our clean air and water, and its direct connection to plastic production and waste. Communities in Pennsylvania have already experienced dangerous air and water pollution linked to fracking and plastic production. And now, activists in the UK are taking bold action to protect their communities against these threats.

“Companies like Cuadrilla and Ineos would like to stifle this movement, and the current UK Government has chosen to oppose those advocating for a healthy climate and a livable world. It’s time for the government to do the right thing and revoke Cuadrilla’s and Ineos’s permits in light of the now published evidence.”

In Fracking Case, Scottish Court Rules Against Ineos

Petrochemical giant Ineos lost its challenge to the Scottish government’s moratorium on fracking.

In response, Food & Water Europe and Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter issued the following statement:

“In its quest to frack Scotland, Ineos has been blocked by local government officials, the courts, and the overwhelming majority of the Scottish public. The company should heed this overwhelming opposition and abandon its dangerous scheme to frack Scotland.

“Ineos’ fracking for plastics has made a significant contribution to pollution on both sides of the Atlantic. The company has most recently complained about the negative impacts of the shutdown of the Mariner East pipeline in Pennsylvania, which supplies its Grangemouth facility. It is clear that Ineos only wants to frack the UK in order to secure a cheap feedstock for its plastic production.

“The next step for the Scottish government is to clear up any remaining ambiguity and enact a once-and-for-all total ban on fracking.”

EU/UK Andy Gheorghiu, Food & Water Europe, [email protected]

US Peter Hart, Food & Water Watch, [email protected]

Chemical Companies Go to Court to Challenge Scotland Fracking Ban

Chemical Companies Go to Court to Challenge Scotland Fracking Ban

The international petrochemical giant Ineos, joined by the Scottish company Reach Coal Seams Gas, is in court to challenge the Scottish government’s indefinite moratorium on fracking.

Faced with overwhelming public opposition to drilling, the government announced early this year that it would extend a fracking moratorium indefinitely. The companies are trying their case in the Court of Session this week.

Ineos is the main shale license holder in the UK, and plans to frack parts of Scotland and England in order to use the hydrocarbons as a feedstock for plastic production. The company currently imports fracked hydrocarbons from the United States.

In response to the court challenge, Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch and Food & Water Europe, released the following statement:

“Ineos’s appalling and astonishing record of environmental violations at its facilities across the globe should warrant serious scrutiny. Now it wants to do more harm to clean air, safe water, and a livable climate by trying to force the Scottish government to let it frack their country. Tens of thousands of people across Scotland have spoken out against this dangerous plan, and Scottish officials were right to stop Ineos before it could start drilling. The future belongs to clean energy, not to fossil fuel corporate behemoths like Ineos, which will use every tool at its disposal to force fracking on Scotland. Ineos has lost in the court of public opinion, and they will lose this court challenge as well.”

EU/UK Andy Gheorghiu, Food & Water Europe, [email protected]

US Peter Hart, Food & Water Watch, [email protected], 732-839-0871

Energy Committee Dismisses Effort of 18 MEPs to Stop Fossil-Fuel-Favoring Infrastructure Priority List

BRUSSELS — Today, the Energy Committee of the European Parliament rejected a motion for an objection to the third list of energy “projects of common interest” (PCIs) which was proposed to parliamentarians by the European Commission in November 2017. The PCI list is a priority list for infrastructure projects which benefit from advantages for permit granting and environmental impact assessments and which are eligible for CEF funding.

The objection, submitted by an initial number of 18 MEPs from 5 political groups (ALDE, EFDD, GUE, Greens and S&D), highlights the high proportion of fossil fuel infrastructure, notably gas projects, on this priority list. In today’s Committee votes, only 15 Members voted in favour of an objection, while 44 opposed it, with 2 abstentions.

“This list is the first PCI list that was drafted after the Paris Agreement came into force. Instead of aligning the list with international climate commitments, the European Commission proposed an amount of gas projects that remains as high as in the last years with. At the same time, the amount of electricity projects in the list is stagnating. This is unacceptable and incompatible with aiming at keeping global warming below 1.5 or even 2 degrees, says Frida Kieninger from Food & Water Europe.

In the objection, MEPs pointed out to the risks of investing into stranded assets since gas infrastructure constructed now is designed to last until 2060 or beyond. By then, commitments to phase out greenhouse gas emissions will have made most pipelines, compressor stations and LNG terminals irrelevant and unneeded. The PCI list, so the objection, will lock Europe into a new fossil fuel dependence if adopted in its current form and therefore it needs to be reviewed.

An objection is the only possible action for MEPs to show they are dissatisfied with the current form of the PCI list. The European Parliament and the Council can only reject the entire list, including gas and electricity projects, otherwise the list automatically enters into force since the Council already confirmed its support.

“Main aim of the objection is to align the PCI list with climate and energy targets and the Paris Agreement. It asks the Commission to draft a new list in favor of more electricity projects which are crucial to integrate renewable energy as well as other projects supporting a phase out of fossil fuels”, says Frida Kieninger. This list can’t remain serving corporate interests instead of public interest.”

This is the first time since the European Parliament is using its right of scrutiny on the PCI List. The European Commission will have to take it into account that the public will watch its every step when the next PCI List is drafted.

After today’s rejection of motion for an objection, there is still a possibility to submit the objection to the plenary. If at least 38 of the 751 Members of the European Parliament support the objection, it will likely be voted in mid-March.


Contact: Frida Kieninger, Food & Water Europe, Campaign Officer, Rue d’Edimbourg 26, Brussels 1050, Belgium, +32 487 24 99 05, fkieninger(at)


Notes to the editor:

Motion for an Objection:

Proposal for a 3rd PCI list:





Spain is the third largest exporter of pork after China and the United States and has the largest pig population in the EU, 28,3 million animals.

Production and exports are growing as a result of high industry integration and low production costs. But that means that the industry is getting concentrated in just a few hands, with the number of farms diminishing rapidly and farmers facing growing marginalization. And this industry is not being held accountable for its impacts on the environment, workers and communities.

€200 bn Polluter Bonuses Unleashed by ETS Reform Proposals

February 15, 2017 — Today’s European Parliament vote on the reform of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) rubber stamps substantial new handouts to polluting industries and locks in a climate target far short of a fair EU share of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

The EU Parliament passed measures that represent around €200 billion in free pollution permits and additional funds for polluting industries, although the eventual value could be higher once the rules on continuing subsidies for the cement and other energy intensive sectors have been clarified.

Corporate Europe Observatory’s Oscar Reyes said:

“It looks like the EU Parliament is quite happy to prolong the welfare scheme for big polluters that has already failed to reduce emissions for too long. EU taxpayers will be the ones forced to pick up the bill for the heavy subsidies forked out to polluting industries.”

The vote also confirms a lack of ambition at the heart of the emissions trading scheme, which is the EU’s flagship climate policy tool.

Frida Kieninger of Food & Water Europe added:

“The 2.2 per cent annual reduction target is a shameful capitulation that is still far off the EU’s fair share of necessary climate action set out in the Paris Agreement.

“It is high time that the EU institutions realise that the ETS is not fit for purpose and scrap it in favour of more effective climate regulations.”

Notes to editors:

  • The EU Parliament voted on the ETS reform proposals and amendments listed here:
  • The value of free pollution permits and ETS-linked funds will amount to around €198 billion between 2021 and 2030. This figure assumes an average carbon price of €25, and is broken down as follows: Free industry permits worth €135 billion, Innovation Fund €15 billion, Indirect Cost Fund €11 billion, Modernisation Fund €8 billion, Flexible Share €19 billion, New Entrants’ Reserve €10 billion.
  • This media reaction has also been endorsed by attac France.