Dirty money: Scots councils under fire for fracking funds

Campaigners say the fracking industry is “completely irresponsible” and are calling for money to be invested in clean energy instead. But councils say they have a duty to pensioners to invest where they can make the most money.

The biggest investor is the Strathclyde Pension Fund, administered by Glasgow City Council, which has put £142m into 21 companies. Two of them are said to have breached environmental laws in the US.

Over the last two years US authorities have fined Range Resources $13 million for pollution breaches in Pennsylvania. Cabot Oil and Gas, based in Houston Texas, was reported for 494 environmental violations in Pennsylvania between 2009 and 2013.

Dundee’s pension fund invests £59m in fracking firms, Aberdeen’s £51m, Edinburgh’s £46m and Falkirk’s £40m (see table below). The only council-run pension scheme that doesn’t have money in fracking is Shetland’s, says the report.

“Opening up new frontiers of fossil fuels like fracked gas whether here or in the US is completely irresponsible in the context of the global climate crisis,” said Friends of the Earth Scotland campaigner Flick Monk.

She pointed out that more than 40,000 people have urged the Scottish Government to permanently ban fracking because of its risks. A public consultation ended on May 31 and ministers have promised to make a decision before the end of the year.

“If fracking is too dirty and dangerous for us here in Scotland we shouldn’t be profiting from it taking place in other countries. Our local government pension funds should be investing for the long-term, not

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