Monday, 18 July 2011

Gaz de Schiste - Next stop 6th October ( Assemblée Nationale)

You may well have thought that this was all over and that with the passing of the loi Jacob banning hydraulic fracturation in June there was little left to worry about. Wrong. In fact there is no proper definition of what 'hydraulic fracturing' actually is and in any event 'fracturation pneumatique' which deploys compressed air is a distinct possibility and this or any one of the other re-named processes that the O&G industry is likely to come up within in the 2 month 'proving' period could in theory be adopted. If alternative processes are allowed to proceed in the autumn the negative effects of 'foraging' will be much the same. Derricks ( 30m -50m high ) as close as 50metres to one's property, massive logistical considerations including literally hundreds of truck movements just to remove earth, personnel movements at all hours, landscape clearance/desecration. Messrs Total have 'not yet decided what to do' and Toreador claim that HF was not specified in their permis in any case.  It is important to realise also that the existing permits have not yet been rescinded.

Opposition parties ( PS, Greens et al ) and organisations like FNE ( France Nature Environment ) consider the new law to be 'untillegible and unworkable' and on 6th October will jointly propose the banning 'pure and simple' of all exploration and exploitation for Gaz de Schiste in France. They are also calling for modifications to the French mining laws ( loi minier ) which are vastly out of date. This law concerns access to one's property amongst other things and France is currently under pressure from the European Parliament to make significant changes.

The government moved in June to calm massive public unrest across the country and across political allegiances by proposing the loi Jacob and then ( for whatever reason ) drastically diluted its terms at the last minute. They may well feel that they have succeeded. Wrong. France is the first country to react in this way to this destructive and demonstrably short term energy 'quick fix'. However, in the run-up to the presidential elections it is important that we do not allow the matter to rest.

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