Anti-Fracking Activists Suspected In Hacking UK Government Email Account

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Anti-hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, activists are suspected of hacking a local government email address to push their agenda in Great Britain, according to a Thursday report in The Times.

The county council in North Yorkshire, England, complained to the police after a government email account was used to send out material protesting a nearby proposed fracking site. An official report from local government clerks obtained by The Times found the government email account “had been subject to hacking.”

The county council received letters and emails protesting fracking in the names of people who deny sending them directly before a large anti-fracking rally in a neighboring locality.

Fracking is becoming a huge issue in the United Kingdom as an experimental onshore oil well in England struck more oil than it could pump in March, which could allow the country to start drilling in an untapped geologic formation which contains an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil.

U.K. government data shows the rest of the country has 2.98 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. The country’s oil production increased in 2015 for the first time in a decade, making Great Britain the second-largest oil producer in Europe after Norway. American horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques could allow the U.K. to access even more oil.

Today’s cheap oil has likely slowed the development of the new British energy industry, but the country’s current government seems ready to embrace the industry and has been supportive of fracking. The British Parliament voted in December to allow fracking under Britain’s national parks by a vote of 298 to 261 and began awarding licenses.

Energy consulting groups estimate fracking will create 74,000 new jobs in the U.K. and safeguard another 100,000. Fracking is estimated to offer up to $16.5 million in benefits to local governments and communities per site.

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