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!