Flash: Parliament Bans Fracking

The Assemblée Nationale May 11 passed the first reading of a government-sponsored bill banning the use of the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique in the exploration and exploitation of shale gas in France, says Le Nouvel Observateur .

The French Parliament has blocked shale gas fracking in France, for now

(Read more online French News here)

The legislation was passed by 287 votes in favour to 186 votes against. Earlier PS-Socialist deputies threatened to reject the bill if the most recent amendment to one of its paragraphs regarding the repeal of gas exploration permits, was not changed.

(Read the latest concerns here.)

After a long night of debate, the Assembly passed the bill with very few amendments to a text that had earlier been scrutinised in detail by a house committee. The committee version reportedly covered all the major concerns expressed by an “angry Green family” (a reference to the eco-coalition led by Euro-MEP José Bové, ) which has mobilised grass roots concerns in the important tourist and agricultural zones of France impacted by planned gaz de schiste operations. These include: Ardèche, Aveyron, Drôme and the Paris Basin – an area some 100 by 150km east, south-east of Paris.
Le Nouvel Observateur

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Here on the assembly’s website is the original bill as tabled on 31 March 2011 in which the key paragraphs were:

Article 1er

I. – L’exploration et l’exploitation de gaz et d’huile de schiste sont interdites sur le territoire national. (fracking is prohibited in France)

II. – L’exploration et l’exploitation de gisement d’hydrocarbures en eaux profondes sont interdites sur le territoire national. (Deepwater offshore exploration and drilling for hydrocarbons is banned in territorial waters)

Article 2

Sous réserve de décision de justice ayant acquis autorité de chose jugée, tout permis exclusif de recherches de mines d’hydrocarbures liquides ou gazeux est abrogé. (Subject to judicial review all exclusive permits for liquid or gaz hydrocarbon drilling are abrogated).

Further Reading:
Maître Muriel Bodin writes about the legal issues on her blog

If you live in or around Paris you might care to read this detailed piece about Toreador’s discovery of and plans for lifting shale gas from deposits in that region.

Natural Gas Drilling and Hydraulic Fracturing Linked to Drinking Water Contamination

Republished with permission from ProPublica.

ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten was on WBUR’s Here & Now yesterday to discuss a new study that, for the first time, links natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing to drinking water contamination.

Lustgarten has been writing about the dangers of natural gas drilling since 2008 and is often credited as the reporter who first brought widespread attention to the issue. Listen to his interview below:

You can also listen to his interview on last night’s WBAI Evening News in New York, which starts at 15:00.

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