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The Commission and Fracking: a Clear Conflict of Interest.

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Corporate Europe Observatory is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making.

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Friends of the Earth Europe is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, uniting more than 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups.

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Carte blanche for fracking. How the European Commission’s new advisory group is letting the shale gas industry set the agenda. 14/04/2015






The European Science and Technology Network on Unconventional Hydrocarbon Extraction is the European Commission’s recently-established advisory group for the evaluation of shale gas development.

The Network is composed of 74 members, 14 of whom work for the European Commission. Of the 60 that do not: — Fewer than 10% of members are from civil society. — More than 70% of members either represent or have financial links to the fracking industry; two-thirds of academics and research organisations involved have links to the fracking industry. — All five working group chairs are fracking proponents, and some have even lobbied against stronger safety rules.

The identity of the five working group chairs of the Network undermines the European Commission’s attempt at a “fair and balanced exchange of ideas”. The five individuals either work for the fracking industry, are from a pro-fracking government, or a fracking industry-friendly body.

This puts the fracking industry firmly in the driving seat, particularly when these five pro-industry individuals have been mandated to “summarize, harmonize and approve” the working groups’ output.

– Eric Vaughan works for Cuadrilla Ressources, an oil and gas company aggressively pushing fracking in the UK.

– Malcolm Rice-Jones works for ConocoPhillips, which has invested billions of dollars into fracking in the US and is increasingly looking abroad (Canada, Colombia, Poland and China).

– Alwyn Hart is from the UK Environment Agency, which has been crucial in helping the UK government push its pro-fracking agenda by downplaying the associated environmental risks.

– Grzegorz Pienkowski is from the Polish Geological Institute. He is a known proponent of the fracking industry.

– and François Kalaydjian is a regular contributor on the website of the industry lobby platform, Shale Gas Europe.