This paper, the first output of an on-going research project of the Extreme Energy Initiative (University of London), explores the potential human rights impacts of the family of extreme energy extraction processes involved in the production of shale gas, coal-bed methane (CBM), and ‘tight oil’, known colloquially as ‘fracking’. The paper locates the discussion within a broader context of resource depletion, the ‘limits to growth’ and the process of extreme energy. Utilising recent data from the United States, combined with the preliminary findings of UK based research, including interview and questionnaire data, the paper outlines a prima facie case for investigating ‘fracking’ development through a human rights lens. Indeed, based on emerging evidence we argue that ‘fracking’ development poses a significant risk to a range of key human rights to the extent that it should form the subject of comprehensive, interdisciplinary, Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIAs) as a matter of urgency. Finally, given the close relationships between government and extractive industries, we argue that these impact assessments must do more than bolster Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) statements and should be truly independent of either government or industry influence.
Extreme Energy, Fracking, Human Rights, Impact Assessments, Environment, Hydraulic Fracturing, Corporate Social Responsibility.
Short, D, Lloyd-Davies, E, Norder, K, Eliiot, J and Morley, J (2014) International Journal of Human Rights, Special Issue, ‘Corporate Power and Human Rights’, (Forthcoming) December.
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