Friends of Earth chief: Britain shale industry tax breaks ill-advised

Dec. 6, 2013 at 6:49 AM
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LONDON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Friends of Earth Executive Director Andy Atkins said a British government decision to consider tax breaks for shale gas developers was ill-advised.

"Yet again, the long-term health of our economy has been completely undermined by the chancellor's shortsighted determination to keep the nation hooked on dirty and increasing costly fossil fuels," Atkins said in a statement Thursday.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said during an economic address Thursday he was proposing a new tax allowance to encourage investments in the country's emerging shale natural gas sector.

Osborne said the British economy is expected to grow by 2.4 percent next year from a 1.8 percent rate this year. To get an economic reward from energy, the chancellor said the government should not "turn its back" on shale natural gas.

Shale natural gas exploitation is viewed by environmental groups as a threat to the climate.

"Building a strong economy and protecting the environment are two sides of the same coin, but yet again the government has left them both short-changed," Atkins said.

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