India Bans Greenpeace Funding, Suspends Licence

Greenpeace India and villagers gather on the fringes of the Mahan forest during a protest against a coal mining project in Singrauli districtGreenpeace India and villagers gather on the fringes of the Mahan forest during a protest against a coal mining project in Singrauli district.Greenpeace India’s all seven bank accounts have been frozen with immediate effect. The Central government has suspended the registration of the organisation, including its branches and units for six months beginning Thursday. The order comes against the backdrop of government reports raising concerns that the United Kingdom has been showing interest in the organisation’s India operations. –Devesh Pandey, The Hindu, 10 April 2015

The Indian government has frozen seven bank accounts belonging to Greenpeace’s India arm and suspended the environmental group’s foreign-funding license for allegedly violating rules governing overseas currency transfers. It is the latest move to block activities of nonprofits that some officials regard as anti-development. –Joana Sugden, The Wall Street Journal, 9 April 2015

A dossier prepared by the Union Home Ministry on March 4 claimed that Greenpeace’s foreign contribution was used “to influence and lobby” for the formation of government policies. It claimed that the “foreign funded campaign and protest creation by Greenpeace India led to wastage of financial resources, prevented creation of productive capital and caused loss of jobs and incomes for locals, apart from depriving the country of energy”. Another result of Greenpeace protest was “slowing down Government of India’s energy policy implementation by physically preventing the commission of new nuclear and coal based energy projects” and “creating hurdles in the path of existing coal based plants”. —Deccan Herald, 10 April 2015

India’s environmental war are heating up. On Thursday, India suspended Greenpeace India’s ability to receive foreign funds and froze its bank accounts on Thursday, the latest in a series of run-ins the global green watchdog has had with the government here in the past five years. The government said the group had “prejudicially affected the economic interest of the state.” In recent months, the group has mounted a massive protest to block coal mining project in central India, even as the government is trying kickstart a number of stalled industrial projects across the country. A secret intelligence agency note, leaked to the local media last year, had called the group’s activities a threat to “national economic security.” –Rama Lakshmi, The Washington Post, 9 April 2015

Britain may — and the keyword here is ‘may’ — have just discovered an oil resource to rival the North Sea, underneath the leafy shires of southern England. If confirmed, the news could transform the energy balance of one of Europe’s largest economies. But finding the oil is likely to be the easy part. Any development would be sure to face enormous opposition from environmental campaigners and local residents. –Geoffrey Smith, TIME, 10 April 2015

Two months after withdrawing its controversial science education standards with modifications that would have asked students to question the scientific community’s assertion that global warming is caused by human greenhouse emissions, the West Virginia Board of Education voted Thursday to amend the standards once again to allow classroom debate on climate change. Opponents of the changes, pointing out peer-reviewed research on climate change, have said that scientific facts should not be debated. –Samuel Speciale, Charleston Daily Mail, 9 April 2015