In a statement released on Monday, Food & Water Europe blasted the draft report by MEP Bogusław Sonik (European People's Party) on the environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction activities.
The group sees Sonik's report as heavily stilted in favour of shale gas extraction, noting that the author failed to correctly quote the European Commission. The parliamentary report was released on 11 April.
Sonik considers that risks related to shale gas extraction can be contained through preventive measures. He strongly insists that shale gas development in EU countries should depend only on national authorities with the European Commission acting as a monitor.
"Mr Sonik’s report begins under the assumption that shale gas is a 'very important new source of supply', conveniently dropping the key word 'potential' from this direct quote out of the Commission’s 2050 Energy Roadmap," Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Europe, said in a statement.
Hauter also accuses the report's author of anti-Russian bias.
"Mr Sonik has resorted to the use of Cold War rhetoric, accusing Russia’s Gazprom of spreading fears about shale gas," Hauter said.
"While Poland’s history with Russia has been problematic, Food & Water Europe emphasises that, for an EU of 27 member states with a focus on 2050, such rhetoric only complicates the challenge of developing 21st-century policies to ensure clean and renewable energy solutions.”
Sonik has been widely quoted as saying that Russia's Gazprom has been influencing politicians in EU countries and has links to environmental organisations to keep Europe dependent on its gas sales.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who will take over as president on 7 May, recently said the country's gas industry needs to "rise to the challenge" of shale gas as the United States and some European countries forge ahead with developing the controversial energy source.
Shale gas exploration was recently suspended in Bulgaria and Romania amid protests. The promoters of shale gas in these countries have sometimes accused the protestors of being manipulated by Russia, but the allegations have never been proved.
'Huge battle' to come
Poland is spearheading shale gas development although a recent report indicated that the country's reserves were only one-fifth of what was previously believed. Nonetheless, the government still believes that shale gas could help the country to become more independent in the energy sector.
All political parties in Warsaw are preparing for a fight within the European Parliament to stop new regulations from hindering Poland's chances of tapping into the new source of energy, Polish Radio reported.
International energy giants such as ExxonMobil and Chevron have all bought licences to extract shale gas in Poland. Chevron has also been planning to explore shale the gas potential in Bulgaria and Romania.
Konrad Szymański, an MEP from the opposition Law and Justice party (European Conservatives and Reformists), warned on Polish Radio that left-wingers and environmentalists would attempt to challenge Sonik's report.
“There will be a huge battle", he said.
The deadline for tabling amendments to the Sonik report is 9 May.