Balcombe oil plans spark outrage

British village that saw major protests last summer approves oil tests.
By Daniel J. Graeber  |  April 30, 2014 at 8:50 AM
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LONDON, April 30 (UPI) -- The British Friends of the Earth said they were frustrated with council members in West Sussex County who voted in favor of oil operations near Balcombe.

"We are extremely disappointed that councilors have not listened to local people," Friends of the Earth campaigner Brenda Pollack said in a statement Tuesday. "This is an attempt by Cuadrilla to set the wheels in motion for dirty fossil fuel extraction."

Last week, Cuadrilla Resources said it would apply for permission to drill up to four exploration wells at sites near Balcombe. The village was the scene of demonstrations against the controversial drilling practice, hydraulic fracturing. While last year's campaign didn't involve hydraulic fracturing, the company said it now wanted approval to employ the technique.

Pollack said that, instead of fossil fuels, the British economy should embrace more renewable forms of energy.

The council heard public reaction to Caudrilla's plans Tuesday. Council Chairwoman Heidi Brunsdon said the "debate was robust."

Cuadrilla Chief Executive Officer Francis Egan has said his company was "committed to being a good neighbor" in Baclombe.

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