A coalition of social and environmental groups filed a complaint alleging that a British company violated the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises in applying for a permit to expand a fracking operation in Slovenia.
The complaint was filed with the Slovenian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (NCP) by Focus Association for Sustainable Development and 16 other nongovernmental organizations and civil initiatives. The complainants assert that the UK-based company Ascent Resources plc ("Ascent Resources") violated the OECD Guidelines in applying for a permit to expand a fracking operation at a natural gas field near Petišovci, Slovenia. The complaint also implicates Ascent Resources's subsidiary in Slovenia, Ascent Resources d.o.o., and its contractor, Geonergo, d.o.o.
The complaint asserts that Ascent Resources ran afoul of the OECD Guidelines by: failing to take adequate steps to consider and address the potential environmental impacts of fracking, including fracking's contribution to the threat of runaway climate change; failing to work with a view to achieving sustainable development and take due account of the need to protect the environment; engaging in improper political involvement by organizing a lobby campaign to pressure the Slovenian Ministry of the Environment to complete the permitting process for the fracking expansion without complication; failing to undertake required due diligence by not ensuring that its subsidiary and contractor considered all the environmental and health risks of fracking; incentivizing its subsidiary and contractor to cause adverse environmental and health impacts through fracking; and improperly avoided engagement with relevant stakeholders including local anti-fracking groups. The complaint also faults Geonergo, Ascent Resources's contractor, for seeking an exemption from the need to undertake an environmental impact assessment. The complainants argue that the NCP should view Ascent Resources's activities in the context of international climate treaties given that fracking contributes to global climate change.
The complainants request that the Slovenian NCP bring their concerns to Ascent Resources and facilitate a dialogue aimed at ending the company's fracking activities in Slovenia. They also call on the UK NCP to support the Slovenian NCP in handling the complaint. Should a mediated solution prove unattainable, the complainants ask that the NCP inform the Slovenian authorities of the alleged breaches of the OECD Guidelines and urge that the allegations be considered in the permitting process.