Monday, 9 May 2011

France: Environmentalists Fear Slippage

"Environmentalist are expressing concerns in advance of this week’s upcoming vote in the French National Assembly to repeal shale exploration licenses. Changes have occurred in the wording of the resolution to be voted upon. The original bill clearly stated that licenses already issued for unconventional gas and oil were to be repealed and called for the ban on further exploration and exploitation.

However, the revised version stipulates that licensees must, within two months after the publication of the law, detail the processes that they intend to employ in extracting the resources in a report to the administrative authority that originally issued the permit. The permits would be revoked if this report is not submitted or if it “refers to the use, or possible use of hydraulic fracturing of the rock,” after drilling.

For Yves Cochet, Member for the Green Party, the revision provides explorers with a loophole.
“Instead of saying they (i.e. explorers) use the technique of hydraulic fracturing, they will use another form but in substance, they will do the same, since there is no other way to do it”  said Cochet.

The France Nature Environnement coalition also expressed its “concern” fearing a shift away in parliamentary support. “Provided that the technique is different, the industry can drill without being disturbed,” complains the FNE.


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