Posts Tagged ‘Friends of the Earth’

Tories Promised Fat Profits to Fracking Companies While Others Starved

January 25, 2020

Donald Trump made his contempt for environmentalists and public concerns about climate change and global warming very clear this week at Davos. He called them ‘prophets of doom’ and frankly denied the existence of global warming. As I pointed out in a previous post, this is not only in line with what the Republican base believes, but also the propaganda of Trump’s corporate sponsors in the fossil fuel industries. Trump has passed legislation to gut the Environmental Protection Agency and prevent it from publishing anything supporting climate change or global warming. The fossil fuel industry, particularly the billionaire Koch brothers, have also set up a network of lobbying and astroturf fake grassroots pressure groups to try and discredit global warming and the other environmental damage by the oil, gas and coal industries. Those same billionaires also use these networks to close down mainstream academic environmental research, and replace them with laboratories funded by themselves, which publish their approved material denying the reality of global warming.

Mike put up a post this week reporting Trump’s anti-environmentalist stance, and saying that this would be a problem for Britain if Boris Johnson is successful and makes a Brexit deal with America.

But the Tories have already shown their contempt for Green politics. Although Dave Cameron promised that his would be the ‘Greenest government ever’ and put a windmill on the roof of his house, that lasted only as long as he could get his foot in Number 10. The moment he won the election, those promises were dropped and the windmill came off his roof. And that wasn’t all. Cameron, like Trump, strongly favoured the petrochemical industries. While his government cut the welfare budget to leave the poor desperate and starving, he cut the tax for the fracking industry so that they could make even bigger projects. Vickie Cooper and David Whyte discuss this in the introduction to their The Violence of Austerity. They write

Indeed, some sectors have been seen as a vehicle for economic recovery and therefore singled out for special treatment. This partly explains the lack of any meaningful regulatory change in the financial sector but also why some high revenue sectors, such as unconventional oil and gas – or ‘fracking’, are being singled out for special treatment… In July 2013 the government announced that the fracking industry would receive a major reduction in its tax burden. Shale gas producers were told that they would be asked to pay just 30 per cent tax on profits compared to 62 per cent normally paid by the oil and gas industry. In response, Andrew Pendleton of UK Friends of the Earth observed:

Promising tax hand-outs to polluting energy firms that threaten our communities and environment, when everyone else is being told to tighten their belts, is a disgrace. (p. 19).

Fracking is particularly contentious, as not only does it pollute the water table but it also causes minor earthquakes. There have been major protests against it throughout the country, particularly against its operations in Lancashire. The Tories just before the election promised a moratorium on it, but did not refuse to stop it completely.

The Tories’ welfare cuts have led to people starving to death, as Mike’s report this morning about the death of Errol Graham. Mr Graham had problems with anxiety, and could not cope with unexpected changes and social situations. He was afraid to go out and could not meet or interact with strangers. Despite this the DWP stopped his ESA, which meant that he lost his housing benefit. He slowly starved to death. When the bailiffs broke down his door to evict him, he weighed only 4 1/2 stone.

Why are we learning about disabled Errol Graham TWO YEARS after the DWP stopped his benefits and he starved to death?

Obscene! Absolutely obscene!

And he isn’t the only one. 130,000 people have died due to austerity. But while the government is content to let people starve to death, it’s prepared to give vast profits to friends in polluting industries. Reading this, I think there’s little doubt that Boris will resume fracking the moment he’s given the opportunity. And that if and when he makes his wretched deal with Trump, it will signal real danger for our precious ‘green and pleasant land’.

This shows the foul pair’s priorities: the world burns, the poor literally starve to death, but they’re fine so long as polluting industries can foul the planet for profit.

 

Vox Political: Tories Break Promise over Fracking near Drinking Water

February 13, 2015

Tory Lies Drawing

Mike over at Vox Political also posted this piece, reporting Cameron’s broken promise about not allowing fracking near sources of drinking water. The article cites a piece by Friends of the Earth, who have received a leaked letter revealing that, despite having made pledges to safeguard water supplies, Cameron fully intends to ignore his promise and go ahead regardless. The article begins

“We know you don’t want fracking, but we’re not listening. And we know we pledged to stop fracking near drinking water, but we didn’t mean it.” Those are the messages from this Government, according to Friends of the Earth.

The article states: “A few weeks ago we learned – in a leaked letter – that the Government will help fracking companies no matter what. And it appears to be good to its word.

“Last week it ignored increasing public pressure to ban fracking in England. But it did pledge to prohibit fracking near drinking water sources – due to concerns about contamination.

“Roll on just one week and the Government is now fiddling with the law to make this pledge meaningless.

“MPs will now have to vote on whether to accept this u-turn. If they don’t block the changes, then fracking could take place in the areas that provide around one third of our drinking water. This would seriously risk contaminating the drinking water supply.”

Mike’s piece states that this follows the government supporting a series of motions to regulate fracking. Apparently this follows a counter-proposal, launched in the House of Lords Monday night by the Lib Dems’ Baroness Kramer. This new proposal significantly waters down Labour’s proposed measures, and allows the secretary of state to define what constitutes a ‘protected area’.

So basically, the Coalition have decided that the interests of the fracking industry outweigh environmental concerns, including the public’s right to have safe, clean water coming out of their taps. If the Secretary of State doesn’t think somewhere should be a protected area, even if it contains a reservoir and an environment bursting with biodiversity, with rare species a-plenty, then it won’t be a protected area.

And possibly just as scandalous is the fact that the news of this U-turn was only reported on the website, DeSmog UK.

As Mike says, this isn’t what the average Tory voter wanted, when they asked their MPs to place limits on fracking. But it is very clearly what the Tories and Lib Dems want.

Once again, in the Tories’ eyes, the interests of big business beats the small guy any day.

Mike’s article is over at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/02/11/fracking-threat-to-drinking-water-from-underhanded-coalition/.