Saturday, 11 June 2011

It ain't over yet - by any means ( Senate debate/vote (8th/9th June )

The recently approved but much diluted law of Christian Jacob banning 'hydraulic fracturing' was finally debated in the Senate on the 8th June. It was a close run thing ( 167 UMPs 'for' and 152 Socialistes/others 'against' ) after an extended and heated debate.

The opposition senators fought hard to establish the true level of risk involved in the process of shale gas extraction ( call it what you will ) but in the end were defeated by dint of a government majority. They collectively accused the government of treating the issue 'desinvolture' ie in a casual or off hand manner.

Michel Houel, spokesperson for the UMP, dismissed out of hand the devastation depicted in the film 'Gaslands' and attributed all problems to the poor installation of pipework. Needless to say,  this could never happen here!

M.Houel also said that in his opinion the recent earthquakes near Blackpool were 'very slight' and are likely to have occurred naturally. Incredible really, when one considers that most of us have heightened awareness of earthquakes following the Japanese nuclear disaster.

This means first of all that the two month 'proving' period where we might well expect the O&G companies to come up with an alternative name for hydraulic fracking and then proceed as before remains in place. By our reckoning this means some time in or at the end of August.

Finally, we have today heard that a cross-party commission ( yes, you heard right - another one ) is to be set up with a view to arriving at a concensus between the Assembly General and the Senate. Membership will be 7 d├ęputes and 7 senators and they will be charged with producing proposals to be placed in front of parliament with a view to arriving at a 'final' position.

Clearly government has been wrong-footed and feels the need to at least be seen to be taking the whole thing seriously. We wish we could trust the situation.

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