NEW SHALE GAS “TSAR” ATTEMPTS TO LOBBY THE MEDIA ON BEHALF OF FRACKING INDUSTRY
Only a few weeks into her role of Shale Gas Commissioner, former ousted Labour MP Natascha Engel, who also worked for fracking wannabes, INEOS, is making waves in communities with her visits to fracking communities and her attempts to “…become a trusted source of credible information and a source of constructive feedback to the Government and Industry.”
Engel, a pro-fracking former Labour MP of North East Derbyshire, lost her seat to Conservative Lee Rowley MP, who is against fracking. She then began working for chemical giant, INEOS, having been commissioned to write an explanatory ‘information booklet’ on shale gas exploration.
Ms Engel has begun visiting communities that have had fracking imposed upon them, as part of her job description to help “demystify the regulations” surrounding shale gas. You can read the job application pack for Shale Gas Commissioner here.
One member of the audience from Ms Engel’s talk in Malton, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated:
“Natascha Engel presented as if she was from the fracking industry’s wish list of shale gas salespeople. She was like an evangelical shale gas enthusiast, with a preaching sense of an industry that is desperate to make footholds in communities.”
In recent weeks, we discovered a letter that Ms Engel has been pitching to newspaper editors, in the hope of quashing the incessant national news reports following Cuadrilla’s fracking operations triggering a cluster of seismicity and tremors in Lancashire.
Today, although now the link has been taken down, Kevin Hollinrake MP, published the letter in full on his website.
Luckily, we retained the full letter (see below). It’s interesting to note Ms Engel’s approach, akin to the shale gas industry’s own self-serving tones of reassurance and sales pitches to minimise fracking risks and maximise their own perceived benefits.
It’s also a point to note that Ms Engel directed editors who require further information, to a “database of independent experts and academics” at the Science Media Centre (SMC). The SMC has previously been criticised for its favouring of corporate sectors, and was described as having “corporate lobbyists [featuring] high on the agenda”. Aside from a recent web article containing “expert reactions” on the Lancashire earth tremors on October 24 2018, there hasn’t been anything published on fracking or shale gas in over a year.
Talk Fracking have also been shown a number of emails suggesting Ms Engel has been operating from her own personal email account, when contacting communities and beyond. This has strong implications for transparency and any future Freedom of Information requests that the public are entitled to ask for, with regards to her correspondence as a public-facing role. Under the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there are also compliance issues too, which need to be addressed.
Natascha Engel’s letter to newspaper editors: