Taxpayers are being forced to subsidize fracking - regardless if they despise it.
United Kingdom — The environmentally destructive fracking industry is set to industrialise the countryside — and contribute to climate change — a move made all the more lamentable by the U.K. government’s incentivization of the practice, offering tax breaks to the fossil fuel companies involved. Despite significant threats to health, water and wildlife from the pollutive industry, millions of pounds that would otherwise be paid in taxes might be spent in the dangerous hunt for shale gas.
In addition to watching the environment suffer, taxpayers will also be forced to subsidise it, according to a troubling investigation by Greenpeace’s Energydesk. That report revealed U.K. taxpayers could spend millions funding fracking — or “hydraulic fracturing.” The dangerous process to extract shale gas pumps a combination of water, sand, and a cocktail of chemicals into the earth at high pressures to fracture rock, releasing gases trapped deep underground. The tax breaks are set to benefit firms investing in fracking and oil and gas production by providing enhanced capital allowances in order to reduce their taxable profit, Energydesk reports.
While the shale gas industry often boasts of mass job creation, Friends of the Earth has said the claims are overstated and that any boom to jobs would be short-lived. The organisation’s 2015 report, “Making a better job of it,” showed investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy would create more jobs than more investment in fossil fuels.
Energydesk’s shocking investigation revealed how fracking firms will benefit from a tax loophole, which denies clean and renewable projects the same breaks. It cites Treasury documents suggesting that between now and 2020, taxpayers could lose out on more than £25m from the industry as the money is spent on fracking infrastructure instead.
The news came just days after North Yorkshire approved the U.K’s first fracking tests in five years. Permission was granted for the controversial process to take place in Ryedale after councillors voted to approve Third Energy’s plans to frack at a site near Kirky Misperton. The announcement has been met with skepticism throughout the country, and a local Labour party went as far as to accuse the seven councillors who voted for the plans of “betraying local democracy,” demanding they step down.
The go-ahead was given despite overwhelming local opposition that saw just 36 in favour of the plans and 4,375 against. In a statement on their website, worried residents from Frack Free Ryedale urged the public to keep fighting the threat, adding, “Call that democracy? We call it an outrage.”
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