France’s Parliament has voted to ban the controversial oil/natural gas extraction technique known as fracking, making it the first nation to do so.
As reported in the June 30 on-line edition of Le Monde, the French Parliament has voted to ban hydraulic fracturing — the natural gas extracting technique known popularly as ‘fracking’.
The law had passed the National Assembly (France’s “lower” chamber of Parliament) nine days earlier and then moved on to the Senate, where the measure passed by a small majority of 176 (yes) to 151 (no). This makes France the first nation to ban the controversial extraction technique.
The vote fell mostly along party or ideological lines, with most pro-business conservatives voting against the ban and most liberals voting in favor. However, several of the opposing votes came from Socialist party members of Parliament — who typically side with their Liberal colleagues on many issues — who opposed it because of alleged loopholes in the law that would still permit other forms of shale extraction. An earlier measure introduced by the Socialist party sought to ban all forms of extraction from deep shale beds.
The new law provides a two month notification period in which companies with current oil shale drilling permits must notify the state as to which extraction technique they are using; if fracking is declared, or if the company fails to respond within that time period, the permits will be revoked.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the state of New York is moving towards lifting its moratorium on the practice, despite growing concerns over the toxic brew of chemicals used in the hydraulic fluids and more recent evidence that drinking water near fracking sites (those within one kilometer radius) have been contaminated by thermogenic methane (which derives from deep, shale bed sources), making the drinking/tap water unsafe and sometimes highly flammable.
U.S. Government study of the technique continues, though many environmental groups fear that, ultimately, the technique will be approved (with some minor restrictions) given the Obama administration’s current push for domestic energy exploration, and the aggressively anti-environmental “Drill, baby, drill!” motto of pro Big Energy Republicans.
It remains to be seen whether fracking bans will become the emerging environmental trend in Europe and elsewhere.
Earlier this year, following the Tohoku earthquake-tsunami-nuclear meltdowns in Japan, Germany officially abandoned nuclear power as an energy source (also: Italian voters overwhelmingly defeated government nuclear energy expansion plans). But Germany is less heavily invested in nuclear power than is France; France relies on nuclear energy for nearly 80% of its electrical power needs.
Here is the abstract/excerpt of the original Le Monde article from June 30, 2011:
Par Marie-Béatrice Baudet Source : LE MONDE
Taille de l’article : 696 mots
Extrait :La France est le premier pays au monde à interdire l’usage de la fracturation hydraulique à des fins d’exploration et pour l’exploitation de cet hydrocarbure. Jeudi 30 juin, après un ultime vote au Sénat, la proposition de loi UMP sur les huiles et gaz de schiste sera définitivement adoptée. Elle devrait être promulguée quelques jours plus tard par le gouvernement. Ainsi, au nom du principe de précaution et de la protection de l’environnement, la France deviendra le premier pays au monde à interdire l’usage de la fracturation hydraulique pour l’exploration et l’exploitation de ces hydrocarbures non conventionnels.
For more on fracking, check out these earlier planetsave articles:
Bottom photo: heanphibian ; CC – By SA 3.0