Fracking Protests at London Fashion Week

21.02.2018 -

British designer Vivienne Westwood used her platform at the London Fashion Week late last week to protest fracking.

British press reports said the event staged by the activist designer on the streets of London’s posh Knightsbridge neighborhood, near the Ineos headquarters, was a direct attack on the Swiss-based group and its efforts aims to develop shale gas projects in the UK.

The protest was staged to mimic a fashion show and featured models walking down a catwalk holding posters with anti-fracking slogans such as “Frack off Ineos” or wearing garments emblazoned with slogans such as “Fracking Climate Ineos.”

“Fracking is over,” Westwood’s son, Joe Corré, a leader of the anti-fracking movement, is quoted as saying at the event. “The people in this country are not going to accept it.”

Corré and fellow campaigner Joseph Boyd said earlier they planned to call on the Court of Appeal to reverse the injunction won by Ineos last year that blocks protests at fracking sites. This has been called the most wide-ranging order ever issued for the benefit of the shale industry and the first ever issued preemptively, putting  protestors in contempt of court if they obstruct operations.

According to campaigners, the injunction, last renewed by the High Court in September 2017, has significantly increased the risk of protest. The maximum penalty for slow walking, in which protesters attempt to delay deliveries by walking slowly in front of vehicles, is a £1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for contempt of court is two years in prison.

In the US, meanwhile, environmental advocacy groups are suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allowing oil and gas companies to dump fracking and drilling waste into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Gulf Restoration Network and the Louisiana Bucket Brigade said the permits issued by the agency do not take into account potential dangers to water quality, and the discharges could have devastating effects on marine wildlife and habitats.

“The Trump administration is letting oil companies dump toxic fracking chemicals into the Gulf with no regard for the risks or the law,” Kristen Monsell, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “The EPA is supposed to protect water quality, not give oil companies free rein to use our oceans as their garbage disposal.”

This marks the second time the three groups have sued the EPA over the permits, finalized in September last year, which cover new and existing offshore oil and gas platforms operating in federal waters off the coasts of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The environmentalists said the permits allow oil companies to dump unlimited amounts of waste fluid from fracking, including chemicals such as benzene, arsenic, lead, mercury, phenol formaldehyde resins and hexavalent chromium.