Last month, at the European Parliament, the amendment “not to authorise any new hydraulic fracturing operations in the EU” was rejected. GEAI expressed its serious disappointment.
However, it is important to note that the same day, two important resolutions were adopted. Following the reports from the Environment and Industry committees, those texts call on the European Commission and the Member states to set up more “robust regulatory regimes”. For example one regulation states that “Special plans for water use should accompany any hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) activities and as much water as possible should be recycled”. Companies must disclose which chemicals are used, in order to comply with EU legislation, it adds, according to a press release from the European Parliament.
The Parliament also calls for further research, or “(…) to evaluate their legislation to see whether proper account is taken of this aspect, including the full application of the provisions of the Aarhus Convention and the corresponding provisions in EU law; (…)“.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik has published this statement:
“(…) It is clear that the future development of shale gas will depend on the extent of public acceptance of fracking. Addressing health and environmental risks will be of paramount importance for the industry to gain broad public acceptance and a ‘public license to operate’ in Europe.
Our challenge is to make the right and balanced choices. Studies carried out indicate that there are a number of uncertainties or gaps in current EU legislation and the Commission intends to deliver next year a framework to manage risks, address regulatory shortcomings, and to provide maximum clarity and predictability to market operators and citizens across the EU.”
The Independent Irish MEP Marian Harkin warmly welcomed this statement. She stated that, on her blog:
“The Commissioner has now committed to an impact assessment in 2013, part of which will be a very significant public consultation, which will give citizens an opportunity to make their views known.
Proposals from the Commission are expected in 2014. At last the EU Commission is taking responsibility for environmental concerns and that has to be good news. The Commissioner also agreed that the risks from fracking are greater than those from conventional gas exploration. This is an important first step in helping to ensure that the widespread environmental concerns surrounding the shale gas extraction process are at last being addressed by the EU”.
See below an editing of Irish and Northern Irish MEP’s speeches: [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqV53BatGYU&w=560&h=315]
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