Shale Gas Activists: Three Down 61 To Go

With the repeal now formalised, of shale gas prospecting licenses for Villeneuve de Berg , Nant and Montelimar announced during a presidential visit to Alès on October 4, activists in the Gard and Ardèche départements are pressing for the repeal of the remaining 61 permits.

Barjac 's weekly market (Photo Marie de Barjac)

(Read more online French News here)
According to Midilibre Gard and Ardeche collectives have called a rally for October 23 at Barjac, north east of Alès, saying “The repeal shows that mobilised citizens have won a victory . But this is only partial because there are still 61 other prospecting licenses in place across France. “

Jean-Louis Chopy, spokesman for the Ardèche collective told the paper: “All (President) Nicolas Sarkozy sought to do on his recent visit, was to defuse the discontent and that is what is provoking (further) anti shale gas (demonstrations). For although the three permits that date back to 2010 are no longer valid, there are still, in Gard and Ardèche, four older exploration licenses not yet revoked namley: that for the Alès plain, recently taken over by Diamoco Energy, another for the Alès basin, attributed to Mouvoil , and those for Navacelles and Nîmes. Thus the issue is not yet resolved,” he said.

Everyone thinks it’s all over now, that hydraulic fracturing is banned. They forget that even conventional permits have used the fracturing method in vertical wells, for example. All that Nicolas Sarkozy announced was a revocation of three licenses to defuse the situation while visiting Alès during the ceremony celebrating the UNESCO heritage status attributed to the Cévennes.”

Jean-Louis Chopy told the paper: “The Barjac protest is important to maintain the momentum of mobilization, explain the reality of the situation, and show we remain committed, engaged, vigilant in the defence of our terroir, and our quality of life and that we affirm solidarity with all départements and associations still concerned that 61 permits remain valid”.

The gathering on the Sunday at Barjac will include a picnic lunch and symbolic destruction of an oil derrick.

Story: Ken Pottinger

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