Environmentalists warn against PR spin by pro-fracking companies
Slick PR campaigns by energy companies can’t disguise the devastation fracking will cause to Scotland’s environment, campaigners have warned.
The claim comes as Grangemouth-based Ineos, which has bid for fracking licences in Scotland, held a press conference to raise awareness of the benefits of shale gas extraction.
Ineos has also invited community councils to a briefing event on Thursday (19 March) explaining how community benefit payments will work and what they will be worth to communities.
However, Friends of the Earth Scotland said no amount of slick roadshows are going to allay the concerns of communities who have heard about the reality of the impacts of this industry in the USA and Australia.
Mary church, head of campaigns, said: “Scottish communities have been fighting the unconventional gas industry for years, and are already very well informed.
Communities will be looking at Ineos’s record at Grangemouth when they judge for themselves the trustworthiness of claims that fracking is safe
“Sadly Ineos have the budget for a long and dirty fight, while community and campaign groups can only fight their corner on a shoestring.”
She said the energy company’s “pie-in-the-sky” claims of huge sums of money for communities will never be delivered.
Using questionable economics of the USA industry to woo communities when it knows UK costs will be much higher is “simply indefensible”, Church said, as Ineos is on record saying that if it fracks and doesn’t get gas then communities won’t get a penny.
"The figures the company is using are also based on highly uncertain and exaggerated estimates of how much gas it might be possible to extract from UK shale beds,” she said.
News reports over the weekend revealed that Ineos had a string of safety breaches over recent years.
It has been classified by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as poor in terms of compliance with pollution laws for one or other of their Grangemouth plants in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Church added: “Communities will be looking at Ineos’s poor record at Grangemouth when they judge for themselves the trustworthiness of the company’s claims that fracking is safe.”