Sunday, 23 December 2012

Dernier mot de 2012........

For those who have asked, we are still here - and won't be going away! The 7 permit applications including the one for Cahors appear to have been set aside for the moment pending either an eventual change of government here or the discovery of alternatives to hydraulic fracking ( all of which of course, would still utilize derricks, water, massive logistics and visual desecration and represent the continued use of a fossil fuel contributing not one jot to the inevitability of a move to renewables  ). Rest assured that the overall problem has not gone away.

The Commission of Enquiry set up by the Sarkozy government following the introduction of the loi Jacob banning hydraulic fracking and charged with finding alternative methods and the reform of the Code Minier recently came up with the bright idea of handing the responsibility for authorizing fracking to the maires of individual communes. Democratic on the face of it and of course  premised on the idea that politicians ( even local ones!) are not open to internal and external bribes! Neat one.

Two days ago, we noted the goodwill trip to Algeria by President Hollande. Now we hear that French oil and gas concerns are to be awarded contracts to explore fracking possibilities  there. No doubt this will be the chemically dirty version ( hydraulic ) using and then spoiling obscene amounts of water and not any of the new 'wonder solutions' being put forward by 'les petroliers'.

Here's wishing you a Happy Schistemas and Frack-Free 2013!

From all at Schistehappens.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Dirty money and disinformation........

We forgot to add that the sheer volume of pro-gas propaganda now being funneled via the French popular press is little short of obscene. To gain an insight simply enter 'Gaz de Schiste' in your search box or in Google Actualities.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Hollande bursting to proceed............?

Whilst we have acknowledged the courageous step taken by President Hollande on 15th September to announce the annulation of the 7 existing permis applications we note that although we have sight of the official orders signed by ministers NOTHING has yet appeared in the JORF ( Journal Officiel Republique Fracaise ). The cancellations are therefore not yet definitive in law.

Holland has repeatedly said that there 'will be no fracking by hydraulique methods during his five years but that he remains open to other methods of exploitation if they can be found'. However,we consider that although the Commission of Enquiry, set to report at the end of 2013 ( when a parliamentary vote will be taken on their findings ) will do it's very best to come up with some other method and in any case, with the possible return of a UMP government in 2017 the problem could start all over again.

The simple fact is that although exploitation may assist the unemployment figures marginally by creating thousands of temporary and very unhealthy jobs and create a degree of energy independence for France, Natural Gas is by no means a panacea and not likely to be the saviour of the French economy as has recently been suggested by the likes of Claude Allègre and Louis Gallois.

The fact remains that landscape will be desecrated, tourism decimated and  communities disrupted ( hundreds of truck movements in and out on minor rural roads ) as derricks and worse appear in highly inappropriate locations - whatever process is eventually deployed.

Simply a matter of time and especially in the light of the millions of Euros currently being pumped into Brussels by industry lobbyists. Nonetheless, we think that in the final analysis, 'les petroliers'' will not find France to be the most amenable of operating theatres.

Simply a matter of time.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Not a sausage at this point...............

Just to emphasize that at the time of writing (01/10/12) no announcement regarding President Hollande's promise to reject 7 Gaz de Schiste permits has yet appeared in the government's Journal Officiel. In other words, to date, nothing has happened.

We remain sceptical - very. Let's hope we are wrong.

Earthquakes - the reality.

Frequently we find ourselves in conversation with fracking deniers who seem certain that the fracking related earthquakes around the world ( some as high as 3.5 on the Richter scale ) are of no consequence. They also seem coincidentally, to be the same people who would not mind a 50m derrick in their back garden nor the noise from the horrendous logistics involved. Of course, they almost always turn out to be people who have not seen GASLAND or other documentaries either.

Here, for general consumption is some official data from the USA. If you read nothing else, do have a look at Fig.9 in the attached pdf document. Beggars belief.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lost in translation perhaps............?

Most of us have been quite clear that at the end of the Environmental Conference in Paris on the 15th of this month President Hollande clearly announced that he intended to cancel the 7 existing permit applications, including those for the Cahors area, from Messrs 3 Legs Resources and for Beaumont de Lomagne. However, our friends in the Isle of Man would appear not to have fully understood the announcement. We thought it was abundantly clear and widely reported in the press here and elsewhere. Here is an extract from their interim report at to be found under the 'media' section of the site.


"Germany and France
Our southern German concessions fell due for renewal in the second quarter of the year and we have submitted applications for extensions. These applications are in process. Following the temporary suspension of the oil and gas licensing process in France, the outcome of our two licence applications in France remains unclear. We continue to monitor the situation."

We are clear in our own minds that President Hollande intends the cancellations to be other than 'temporary', at least for the duration of his presidency.

Other matters.

Five organisations met last week north of Cahors to formulate a series of letters to President Hollande congratulating him on his balanced approach to existing and renewable sources of energy. Organisations present included: lecercledegindou; schistehappens; Lot Nature Magazine and Culture Perigord......At the close of the meeting letters were agreed emphasizing amongst other thingsthe urgent need to place the annulations on the statute book.

Friday, 21 September 2012

We are concerned........................very.

Just in case any of us thought that the cancellation of 7 permits for shale gas exploitation by President Hollande were cause for celebration, at this point we are well aware that..................

a. The annulation of the 7 permits has yet to appear on the statute books or in the Journal Officiel.

b. President Holland has done nothing to legislate against the possibility of other, emerging techniques, nor strengthen the loi Jacob of July 2011 ( much diluted by President Sarkozy's government ).

c. He has not ( apparently ), acted to cancel the Commission of Enquiry set up by Nicolas Sarkozy to examine 'aspects of exploration' which is due to report finally by the end of 2013 whence there will be a parliamentary vote.

d. He has problem characters within his administration including the apologist Claude Allègre who is now agitating once more and has also been challenged by widely diverging groups including Total, the CGT ( Communist Party), National Chamber of Commerce and many more.

We are concerned - very, and trust that you will not only keep a regular eye on these pages but also send the links to our site to as many English-speaking friends and contacts as possible. Thank you.

Sunday, 16 September 2012


In yesterday's post we forgot to include......VALENCE. Our apologies.

Thank you to Daniele Favari for pointing that out.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Yesterday's announcement - the detail..........

We can now confirm that the 7 permits and permit applications rejected by President Holland at yesterday's Environmental Conference are: Permis de Brignoles (Var), Beaumont de Lomagne ( Tarn et Garonne ), Montelimar extension ( Drôme and 3 other départements ), Lyon-Annecy ( Savoie and 4 other départements ), Montfalcon ( Isére ) and Cahors ( Lot and 3 départements ).

Francois Holland has instructed Minister Delphine Batho to deal with the matter 'without delay' and also declared that this would be the his approach to matters relating to the exploration and exploitation of shale gas using fracking methodology throughout his five year period as President. Once again, we note his logical and couragous stance in the matter.

Of course, we must not forget that in 2017 with a possible change of government, this abomination could rear it's ugly head once more. At the same time it now gives the oil and gas industry almost five years to provide us with continuing examples of fracking malpractice around the world. We feel certain that they will not let us down!

We will endeavour to keep you informed.

Friday, 14 September 2012

President Hollande rejects shale gas fracking

This morning, at the very outset of the government's Environmental Conference President Hollande
announced his outright rejection of shale gas exploration using 'hydraulic fracking' methods and ordered the immediate rejection of seven applications from the likes of Total and 3 Legs Resources including those for the Cahors and Beaumont de Lomagne areas.

The President cited "the heavy risk to health and the environment" of fracking which injects water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into rock to release oil and gas. He also declared that "As far as the exploration and exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons is concerned, this will be my policy throughout my (five-year) term of office".

We are naturally delighted. Many thoughts occur to us at this time and with one eye on 2017, but foremost is the thought that this is part of a much broader environmental policy which must be examined in more detail. In the meantime, our thanks to Monsieur Hollande.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Reminder of the desecration caused..............

Today we attach a link to an excellent if somewhat depressing slideshow depicting the devastion caused in Pennsylvania by widespread fracking activities.

To view the slideshow click here:

If no chemicals were ever used, if concrete casings did not fail on scores of occasions and if the thousands of plant and personnel movements never occurred, the apalling and irreversible effect on landscape would surely be reason enough for us all to say NO!

We would like to thank for bringing these images to our attention.

Further update on 15th Sept in the next issue of Le 46 Magazine.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Permits still 'en instruction' - this area.

Today, we highlight the fact that the permits for the area superficially referred to as 'Beaumont de Lomagne' (10,405 km2) and comprising: Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Haute Garonne', Ariege, Haute Pyrénées, Gers and Dordogne are still 'en instruction'.

The Permis de Cahors lodged by Messrs 3 Legs Resources is still on the table.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Josh Fox - The Sky is Pink

In this busy holiday period we are aware that even those who know that the horrors of fracking have only retreated temporarily may find it difficult to focus on grim issues such as pollution, corruption and more. However, shortly after the holidays the French Government will call an Environmental Conference to re-examine the prospects for fracking en France and many believe that they will eventually seek to amend or repeal the loi Jacob banning the process. Of course, we could be wrong.

In the meantime, here is another chance to view the documentary The Sky is Pink by Josh Fox produced in anticipation of his shortly to be released GASLANDS - 2. Compulsive viewing.

Watch the movie: The Sky is Pink (click link ).

In the meantime, our thanks to those who have given their visible support to Schistehappens by clicking the 'Join this Site' link ( the one in blue at the top right of this page ).

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Tour de France - publicity

Collectif members opposed to Gaz de Schiste exploration/exploitation obtained maximum publicity for the cause as the Tour de France passed through Castelnau Montratier ( and we hear, in many other locations too ) last week. We congratulate all those concerned.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Most definitely not over...............

Today we spotted an interesting perspective on the position of the new government in The Connexion (on-line version).Click Shale Gas rethink on the cards for the full article.

One way or another, this is going to happen. It's up to us all to work for tight regulation by pressuring elected representatives at every level.

Finally, please circulate the link to this site to as many friends/contacts as possible and encourage them to Sign up for the regular newsletter on our Home Page at: Thank you.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Mortgages, ministers and mining laws.......

In our post of the 22nd May 2012 we reported how mortgage lenders in the USA were beginning to look unfavourably on applications from areas in the USA affected by shale gas exploration. The relevant article by attorney Elisabeth N.Radow was compiled for the New York State Bar Association Journal and appeared in May of this year.

'How the fracking mess is about to make the mortgage mess worse'
'One fact ought to tell you all you need to know about the risks faced by homeowners signing leases for natural (shale) gas drilling on their property: Wells Fargo and Company, both the largest home mortgage lender in the United States  and a major lender to the country's second largest producer of natural gas, Chesapeake Energy Corp., refuses to make home loans for properties encumbered with natural gas drilling leases'.

Today we hear that Nationwide Insurance said that it "won't cover damage to homes resulting from fracking". Their policies they say, "were not designed to cover any kind of fracking risk".

Of course, it couldn't happen here - could it?

Here in France........ 

Environment Minister Delphine Batho has announced the establishment of an annual 
Environmental Conference to be held on or around 15th September. This year the main points would appear to include...................

A discussion of Energy issues leading to a decentralized debate resulting in a draft bill for 2013 aimed at making people aware of the present state of biodiversity, leading to eventual legislation.

Greater energy savings to be achieved ( via 'natural' gas exploration????!!!) 

Refinements to the Ecological tax in 2013.

Reform of the Code Minier which currently does not conform with the Environmental Charter. This review to commence in September.

Applications for permits to explore for gas and oil to be routinely posted in the interests of transparency.  

Here at SCHISTE TOWERS we welcome the proposals and in particular those relating to the Code Minier which regular readers will know is the law that dictates exactly the precise terms under which oil and gas companies may operate and in the cas of Gaz de Schiste for instance the proximity of wells to domestic dwellings for instance.

We shall see.

PS  We recently encouraged readers to circulate links to this site as widely as possible and to encourage as many contacts as possible to sign up ( see our Home page for details ) for regular updates. We are well aware that many out there think that this problem has gone away and would be grateful for your support in this matter.

Monday, 2 July 2012

New minister............

In our previous post we omitted to mention that Mme.Delphine Bathos would replace Nicole Bricq as Environment Minister. Mme.Bricq clearly acted too quickly in cancelling the Guyane permis and thus incurred the wrath of the good people at Shell. We understand that Mme.Bathos has an economics background. In the meantime, President Hollande has promised to continue with the revision of the Code Minier. 

Last week we learned that the Conseil General of the Lot has re-affirmed it's opposition to all forms of Gaz de Schiste exploration/exploitation.

For those interested in or affected by fracking in the UK, the Co-operative Society have established a series of nationwide screenings of Gaslands and Gaslands-2. Full details at............. 

Alternatively, enter 'Coop-fracking-Gaslands' in your Google search box.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Not so cheerful now............

Not so cheerful because we have just learned that President Hollande has now replaced Environment Minister Nicole Bricq. Mme Bricq was a long time opponent of Gaz de Schiste. Ah, but then they need the money don't they. So much for promises.

Josh Fox has now released an interim short video ( prior to the release of Gaslands - 2 ) highlighting industry statistics ( formerly secret ) dealing with in particular the failure rate of cement casings deployed in hydraulic fracking and also details of specific bribes paid to US politicians. If you care about the water you drink, the landscape you view and the peace and quiet you currently enjoy please do find just 15 mins to watch the clip which may be seen at:

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Reasons to be cheerful??

Here in France, we cautiously welcome the appointment by President Hollande of Nicole Bricq (65ans) as Environment Minister. Mme Bricq has been consistently supportive of groups campaigning against the abomination that is shale gas exploitation. Fingers crossed. A politician nonetheless, so the pressure must remain.

In the UK, we note a piece dated Sunday, 20th May 2012 in The Independent ( strangely, not reported elsewhere ) by political editor Matt Chorley entitled Government Backtracks on 
Not as much gas as they thought it would seem. Or is it that they have finally realised that extraction in over-populated European locations ( 3x that of eg Pennsylvania ) is simply not quite so profitable as hoped for. Or maybe that, combined with likely levels of opposition across the land fracking activity might be politically unwelcome at this point and in the period leading up to a general election when the downside of fracking might just be becoming apparent to all. So far, only Messrs Cuadrilla would appear to have shown any real interest and they will forever be known as the guys who caused the Blackpool earthquakes. Our view here at Schiste Towers is that it is probably a carefully leaked piece of PR aimed at calming the masses ( and senior pro-fracking members of the government ) much in the way that last year's law banning hydraulic fracking did here in France, whilst allowing extensive exploration to continue. This week's reprieve over there for ageing Nuclear Reactors may also have upset the energy mix debate too. Who knows. Either way, good to know that the ride is getting just a bit bumpy.

Two other snippets from the USA this week......

The first relates to the difficulty now being experienced by those holding/seeking mortgages in areas subjected to fracking:   

The second is a link to a lengthy, but crucially important video ( perhaps as important as Gaslands 
itself ) by eminent researcher Dr Thea Colborn dealing the chemicals now known to be deployed in fracking and their side effects and the implications for human health. 

Finally, whilst we welcome and acknowledge all genuinely positive developments we nonetheless exhort everyone to remember the Schistehappens motto: 'It ain't over 'till it's over'!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Brussels debating Shale Gas legislation - NOW

The European Parliament is discussing NOW whether or not to recommend the development of shale gas exploitation in all member states. If they vote to proceed with exploration involving hydraulic fracking ( this is still the only viable/proven method ) then EU legislation could override for instance the French legislation ( loi Jacob ) banning fracking.

You may wish to contact your MEP - urgently.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Gaslands - still relevant

We are aware that there are many people who have yet to see the award-winning documentary by Josh Fox 'Gaslands' which reveals the full horror of shale gas extraction by hydraulic fracking. For a taster, spend just 10 mins watching the trailer which may be seen

Please pass on this link to anyone you think may still not have seen the trailer or better still the extended version. Thank you

Friday, 23 March 2012

Gaz de Schiste - Crunch time!

The commission of inquiry set up under the loi Jacob of 13th July 2011 banning hydraulic fracking and tasked with assessing aspects of likely reserves underground, the effect on the environment, climate and more, delivered its report on 22nd March 2012. It does not make good reading.

The commission, as expected, had an imbalance in its membership of representatives of the oil and gas industry, 'scientific and technical experts' and elected representatives. Environmental associations were in a minority. The 'final' report concludes that exploration, including propane fracturation and electro-fracturation which are proposed as alternatives to hydraulic fracturing, may take place under the banner of 'scientific research' and under 'strict public control'.  The authors are in favour of a 'limited number of wells'. We consider that this is in direct contradiction of the spirit if not the letter of the loi Jacob. They have further determined that there is a need to look at the 'richness' underground at the same time taking 'the maximum precautions'. Drilling experiments will commence in the area of the Paris Basin where there are existing permits and then follow on 'elsewhere'. Timetable: first half of 2012 = 'evaluation of techniques for exploration and exploitation' ( to be made public as a direct result of pressure from environmental groups ). Second half of 2012 and first half of 2013 = 'collation of findings produced by employing conventional bore holes to assess the location of oil and gas reserves'. Second half of 2013 = 'proposition for a new law and parliamentary vote'.
It is understood that the permit application for Beaumont de Lomagne (10,405 km2 : BNK Petroleum ) covering the Lot, Dordogne, Tarn-et-Garonne, Ariège and Gers ( including Mirande: Gas2Grid) is now 'under instruction'. The Conseil General of the Lot-et-Garonne are now to undertake a formal study of the risks from drilling. The Cahors permis application remains 'en cours'.

You may well wish to read the above more than once. We have condensed the information from a wide range of sources including governmental and other sites, press reports and commentary from contacts in the French environmental movement and of course the orginal report ( Décret No 2012-385 du 21 mars 2012 relatif à la Commission nationale d'orientation de suivi et d'évaluation des techniques d'exploration et d'exploitation des hydrocarbures liquides et gazeux ). We apologise for any possible minor errors that may have slipped in. Either way, it really is time to for us all to decide just exactly where we stand. It is vital that elected representatives ( the very ones that we ex-patriots are able to vote for ) be approached in this matter since local maires and members of each Conseil General will play a vital role in determining outcomes. It is even more important for us to show solidarity with our French colleagues in supporting initiatives such as the demonstration referred to in our last blog and all those that will surely follow in the coming months. It is vital that as many of your contacts/friends as possible who may be affected by this abomination be informed. Please therefore use every channel available ( address book, Facebook, Twitter etc to spread the word as soon as possible ). Thank you.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Demo in TOULOUSE - 31st March + Permits back on the table

Looks like it is demo season and time to dig out your old Non Au Gaz de Schiste placards...

We have just learned that the permit application for the Beaumont de Lomagne area covering 10,405 km2 based on 8 departements surrounding the Gers ( including the Lot ) is now back on the table having been re-submitted. Responsibility for co-ordinating all applications has been passed to the Prefect of the Haute-Garonne. It is believed that the Cahors application has also been re-submitted ( 5,750 km2 ). Demands have been made for the application(s) to be sent also to the prefect of the Midi-Pyrénées. The applications will be in the public domain and available for public viewing with the exception of 'certain paragraphs concerning commercial/industrial secrets'. The documentation will enable us to see how the initial applications have been modified ( to exclude hydraulic fracturing ) and will be sent to geology experts in the Ardeche as part of a national study.

There is a demonstration in Toulouse on Saturday 31st 2012, 15H - 18H (3pm to 6pm)
Place: Monument aux Morts ( Arc de Triomphe )
Nearest metro station: François Verdier
Parking: Halle aux Grains ( underground )

The purpose of the manifestation in Tolouse on 31st March is to mobilize against Gaz de Schiste in the Aquitaine and Midi Pyrénées and to demand the banning of all research, exploration and exploitation.

Please try to come and bring a placard.

Further info:

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I thought that was all over...

At a time when we increasingly hear cries of 'They passed a law didn't they?' and 'Surely, that's all over isn't it?' or 'It could never happen here' we are more aware than ever of the need to convey the facts, highlight the flaws in the arguments put forward by the oil and gas pundits and keep everyone up to speed with events. At this precise moment lobbying is intense and the industry is pressing the current French administration to make significant changes to existing laws. The Partie Socialiste had previously promised to ban the process of fracking outright, but Francois Holland now says that he would not in fact close the door on the possibility for ever. Dangerous times.

Please therefore, consider passing on this link to as many friends and concerned individuals as you can and ask them to click the 'Subscribe' link to the right of this article.

Thank you

Brighton Station banner - video

Just spotted at ( the main UK anti-shale gas site ) an excellent video clip depicting the manufacture and erection of a giant anti-shale gas banner at Brighton Station. Can also be seen directly on You Tube ( enter/search for: 'Frack off banner drop at Brighton station').

No fracking please - we're British!

New report spotted in the Guardian newspaper of 16th March describes how a wide range of protest groups opposed to shale gas fracking in the UK are hoping to form a coalition  resulting in 'Biggest meeting on the issue to be held in the UK as support for fracking for shale gas ( including hydraulic fracturing ) grows in some political circles'.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

3 Legged fracking video hits YouTube!

When you have just 4 minutes to spare do treat yourself to a glimpse of the hugely reassuring (sic ) fracking video recently posted on YouTube by Messrs 3 Legs Resources. With just 56 views to date it hardly seems likely to go viral, but for sheer entertainment value does take some beating! Note the syrupy tones of the narrator, the constant inclusion of buzz words ( environment, agriculture, tight regulation, domestic fluids etc ) and the fact of the huge cost of the operation ( to them ) and marvel at the sheer 'accident-free' efficiency of the entire operation. Almost good enough to eat! Then ask yourself how you might like one of those derrick thingys in the field opposite or yet again just how they manage to heave all that hardware into place without destroying local roads and your entire quality of life in the process. And then there is the small question of the water deployed.

See it on You Tube by clicking here or simply enter '3 Legs Resources' in the You Tube search box. Enjoy.

Oh, should you wish to congratulate them on such an amateur piece of visual and aural tosh you will be disappointed to find that 'Adding comments has been disabled for this video'. We wonder why.

Purely for the record, there would no longer appear to be any mention of France on their site. Right.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Maires in the Var prepared to stand up and be counted!

We have just received notice of an encouraging report in the on-line version of the French News which describes measures proposed by maires in the Var Departement to obstruct the upcoming presidential elections in their region in the event of candidates being unwilling to give assurances regarding shale gas exploration/exploitation. Here is the link to the report by journalist Ken Pottinger

You will see from our last report that other measures are progressively being introduced including local laws or arrêtés banning the use of roads and water for instance. Numerous communes in the Lot including the Grand Cahors administration have taken such powers.

You may wish to ask your maire if anything similar is planned.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Local maires take 'preventative' measures

In a report in La Depeche dated 4/3/2012 concerning the demonstration organised by local collectifs against proposals for Gaz de Schiste exploration and exploitation we note that local maires have been busy drafting laws or 'arrêtés' that would effectively prevent those seeking to frack from using local roads, water and infrastructure in general. This worked effectively in the Ardeche region last year when Messrs Scheupbach Energy were prevented from fracking.

Here in France, Maire's are charged amongst other things with 'The conservation and management of the commune's natural environment and resources including issues over heritage and building and other activities'. Notably he/she has the power to make local laws and is seen as a representative of government.

'La solution passi aussi par les maires'

'The local collectifs opposed to Gaz de Schiste have repeated many times that local municipal laws or 'arrêtés' are one effective device for preventing the application of permits to explore and/or exploit Gaz de Schiste en France. In the Vars departement, close to 70 communes out of a total of 135 have taken powers to establish such local laws governing the use of roads and water etc. In the Lot, 50 communes within the jurisdiction of Grand Cahors have already passed laws. The association <Non au gaz du schiste permis de Cahors> are sending a ready made formula to every maire in the Lot in order that they may be best able to preserve and protect their territories from the degradation certain to follow on from fracking and related activities'. 

The dialogue continues to develop just as the lobbyists are working overtime to convince our politicians. Fortunately, here in France there exists something just a little more pro-active than the average English Parish Council!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Reassurance from Brussels - yeh!

After almost six months I have received a reply to my letter to the Head of Unit - Enforcement, Infringements co-ordination and legal issues at the European Commission in Brussels concerning due process in the event of shale gas exploration in France and the fact that currently the EU is of the view that a tightening of regulations is unnecessary.

'The Commision considers that shale gas exploration and exploitation projects fall under the Directive 2011/92/EU on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment. It implies that, before a shale gas exploration or exploitation project comes to life, the operator has to assess the likely significant environmental impacts (e.g. upon nature, water resources, landscape ) of the project. It would also imply that the operator would not be able to start a project without obtaining a permit. In the framework of the development consent procedure, the public and environmental authorities must be given the right to express opinions on the permit request and to get access to the decision to grant or not a permit. Those opinions should be taken into account by the competent authority in the development consent procedure. In cases where a permit is granted to an operator for a shale gas exploration/exploitation project, members of the "public concerned", including NGOs, will be entitled to challenge at the national level the legality of the decision. This position was communicated to France by letter of 12th December 2011'.

So that's all right then!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wild estimates of likely gas supplies - we are not surprised!

As we have long suspected, industry estimates of likely shale gas deposits in the US and in European fields now appear to have been wildly exaggerated no doubt to impress gullible politicians and investors. A hint of the scale of this sham ( scam? ) may be gleaned from here:

The latest issue of LeFortySix Magazine ( is published today and carries an article by one of our team entitled: Gaz de Schiste - WATER - a perspective. Click the link below or go to page 12 of the hard copy available here.

Almost one year now to the day when the deceit first emerged here in France. We confidentally predict that reactions will be even more pronounced this time around.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

New petition to the EU. Please sign, it only takes a minute

The EU seem to think there is no need to strengthen the law on shale gas exploitation. This is mainly because they are tempted by the promise of 'cheap' gas and how popular it will make them to the voters. We know it will not be cheap in any sense and is just a line promoted by the gas companies who are only interested in the massive profits that fracking will generate.

The only thing that will persuade the EU to do the right thing is public pressure. There is a new petition urging the EU to reconsider their naieve attitude to shale gas in Europe. Please sign it - it will only take a minute.

It is available in a number of languages - you only need to sign one of them :-)







The Schiste Happens Information Team
(tee hee...)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Josh Fox illegally excluded from Congressional hearing!

GASLANDS producer Josh Fox without whom few of us would ever have heard of the abomination known as hydraulic fracking was yesterday excluded along with representatives of ABC News from the Congressional hearing into the EPA findings
( reported here in a recent blog ) in Pavilion, Wyoming where it is confirmed that groundwater has been contaminated. Republican representatives moved to exclude Fox who was acting within his rights as set out in the First Amendment of the American Constitution. The meeting was an 'open' public meeting - but apparently not for Fox. Perhaps he should have said that he was from Fox News!! Capitol Hill spokesman suggested that JF gained access 'illegally'. Can you imagine gaining access to such a place illegally? The mind boggles.

Either way, Fox is perhaps no fool. He is better known than any faceless politician seeking to hide the truth and the You Tube clip ( enter Josh Fox - arrest ) has every chance of going 'viral'.

First Amendment: " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of people peacably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."  Or have we entered a new era?

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Sample letter to EU Commissioners in English

If you wish to communicate your amazement and disgust at the 'ducking out' of the EU Commisioners in relation to a possible strengthening of regulations relating to shale gas exploitation, please click the following link which will take you to the relevant page on this site:-

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Bulgaria the brave!!

On January 18th the Bulgarian Parliament passed a law outlawing hydraulic fracking in the wake of nationwide protests by environmentalists. The law, which came into force on January 24th was passed by a majority of 166-6 votes. Violators face a fine of up to 50m €uros.

Source - BBC News Europe ( 19th January 2012 )

Saturday, 28 January 2012

European Commissioner to pave the way for Super Fracking?

In an article in the Wall Street Journal, the EU Energy Commissioner M. Günther Oettinger, has declared that in view of the findings of a commission set up by Brussels, there is no justification for any change to existing EU controls on shale gas exploration including hydraulic fracking. Many were hopeful that the commission would increase environmental and safety controls. The oil and gas company lobbyists would appear to have been hard at work.

Also just announced by Halliburton is the brand new ‘super –fracking’ technique. It should come as no surprise that super-fracking is just like regular fracking but will be able to do more damage, more quickly, more cheaply from fewer sites. Click for more on Super-Fracking.

In a sane world one would assume that if the French law has banned fracking this would include ‘super-fracking’. But history teaches us to be wary of politicians and industry lobby groups as they have a tendency to produce perverse results. Thus it is quite possible that the EU will say that France’s ban on fracking is fine, but cannot be extended to include super-fracking, or some such nonsense that panders to the immense wealth and influence of the gas companies. Politicians are mainly interested in short-term, election-related solutions, and are under great pressure to put off the difficult decision of finding alternatives to fossil fuels. This is a dangerous combination.

As ever they will only respond if they think it will affect their chances of re-election. This goes for both French and EU politicians. So once again we are asking you to write to them.

The actual message is not as important as the number of people who write to them. Letters and emails should clearly state that you object to the exploitation of shale gas in general, and hydraulic fracturing in particular. You can expand your letter by referring to the need to cut down on fossil fuel use, not find new sources. And how shale gas will reduce the pressure to find effective sources of renewable energy. For more reasons not to go down the shale gas route check out the Dozen Devastating Denials of Shale Gas

Send your emails to EU environmental deputies. Click here for link to Word document with list of their email addresses.

Send letters to:
Monsieur Günther Oettinger
Commissaire European a l’Energie
B – 1049 – BRUXELLES



Madame Connie Hedegaard
Commissaire Européan
A l’Action pour le Climat
Rue Archimede, 73

The wolves are still at the door. It is still up to us to stop them getting in.

Many thanks from all at the Schiste Happens Team

Sunday, 15 January 2012

UMP deputé calls for repeal of Anti-Fracking law

What part of Non! don’t they understand?

A UMP deputé has organised a conference this Tuesday (17th Jan) calling for the repeal of the anti-fracking law. This is the loi Jacob passed last summer which banned fracking in France. François-Michel Gonnot and energy industry lobbyists are attempting to bring pressure to bear on the French government to repeal one of the most popular laws passed in France for decades, and one which was supported by every political party in the country.

Cahors says Non!

Saturday saw demonstrations of support for the anti-fracking law outside government offices all over France. M. Gonnot is of the opinion that the money to be made from fracking is worth the damage it will do to the environment. He stated that he “saw no reason to abstain from exploiting this resource when so many other countries were already benefitting from it.” That so many people were prepared to turn out and re-state their opposition to this damaging technology should make it clear that he is out of tune with the national mood.

So far, of course, these 'other countries' have not benefited at all, as very little gas is actually flowing. Also the estimates of how much gas is under the ground vary wildly. The oil and gas companies always talk them up, but at the same time they are very coy about how much they can actually get out. In short, exploitation could do a lot of irreparable damage for very little gain.

President Sarkozy personally endorsed  the anti-fracking policy when celebrating the granting of Unesco World Heritage status to the Cevennes region. Maybe M Gonnot should ask M Sarkozy, if the run-up to an election, with France’s international credit rating on the slide,  is a good time to put on this display of corporate greed and further alienate the UMP from the vast majority of the French voters.

As we have suggested in the past the battle is not won, the gas companies will keep coming back, we must be prepared to keep telling them that Non! means Non!

For a refresher on the main objections to gaz de schiste and hydraulic fracturing click here: (A Dozen Devastating Denials of Gaz de Schiste)

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Wastewater issues +Fracking hits SE England!

Two new items which give perspective in this matter...

First, from this week's European edition of Time Magazine:-

'Ohio Earthquakes'
 After a 4.0 earthquake shook Youngstown, Ohio on December 31st - the second in a week and the 11th in the area since March - even state authorities had to wonder whether the local boom in natural gas fracking wells could be to blame. Fracking, a process in which water is blasted underground to break rocks and release methane gas, has helped revive rural economies from Ohio to New England. BUT, wastewater is often injected deep underground afterwards, leading, some scientists believe, to tremblors, once rare in Ohio. For now, state officials have shut one particularly active waste well for analysis.

Second from the Guardian:-

'Fracking company chief (Cuadrilla) to face critics in south-east England'

Chief Executive of Cuadrilla, which drilled for shale gas near Blackpool, is to meet residents opposed to fracking in Sussex. Now the sparks should fly! See link:

Naturally, we will continue to keep you informed of events in France up to and beyond the Presidential elections but in the meantime if you have anything of interest please do contact the team directly via this site. Once again, we would encourage you to join the debate by signing in and making comment on this or any other articles.

Finally, those who read and enjoy the magazine Le Forty Six will be able to read an update by one of our team in the next issue to be published on 15th February.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Fracking worries: Methane Leaks and Radioactive Water!

We note with little surprise, but some concern an article by Linda Marsa in the international journal 'Year in Science 2011' containing confirmations of methane leaks and now Radioactive Water at fracking locations in the USA. Extracts are printed below.........

' The drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, came under renewed pressure this past year. Fracking makes it possible to tap into vast domestic reserves of low-carbon natural gas, but the process, which uses sand, chemicals, and millions of gallons of water to free gas trapped inside dense rock,has sparked environmental questions. New evidence bolsters those concerns.

Drinking water samples from 68 wells in Pennsylvania and New York were contaminated with excess methane, according to a report published last May in the ' Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences'. The study, led by environmental chemist Robert Jackson of Duke University, was the first to find a conclusive link between fracking and groundwater pollution. The closer the wells were to the drill site, the higher the methane concentrations, some of which were above the level that raises alarm at the Department of the Interior. Subsequent tests of more than 100 additional wells confirmed the findings, says Jackson, who thinks the most probable culprit is faulty construction of the gas wells. Compounding concerns, reports from the Environmental Protection Agency leaked earlier in the year indicated that the fracking wastewater is too radioactive to be handled safely by water treatment plants.'

The report underlines ongoing concerns that should fracking come to pass in this region in particular, so many things that we all hold dear ( wine production, heritage sites, food production etc., ) will be at risk. Should our 'friends' in the oil and gas industry have their way following the forthcoming elections (and they show absolutely no sign of backing off ) there is every reason to believe that the American experience could be replicated here. Given that over 1 billion litres of water were deployed at the 'Blackpool' site in the UK prior to temporary cessation and this in the face of acknowledged semi-drought conditions, one can only wonder at the wisdom of politicians.