Blog Posts: August 2017

August 29th, 2017

Tour d’Europe, Part II: Great Victories of the Movement to Ban Fracking

By Tina Callebaut

During my last days as an intern here at Food & Water Europe I would like to take you on a tour of the many different victories against fracking in Europe. As drilling has started in Lancashire despite opposition from local communities, it is now more important than ever to stand together in solidarity to not only halt but prevent fracking projects everywhere by banning the technique and promoting the development of clean renewable energy. Here is a run down of the current state of fracking in Europe.

France

Let’s kick off our tour with a visit to France, where in March 2010, two exploration permits were granted for shale gas. The licenses covered in total an area of around 9.672 km². Massive protests followed, which led the Prime Minister at the time, François Fillon, to declare a moratorium on the exploration of shale gas in 2011, which prohibits the exploration and exploitation of liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons through hydrofracturing and cancels the exploration permits for projects where hydraulic fracturing would be used. France’s Constitutional Court confirmed the constitutionality of the ban and the revocation of the permits in October 2013.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, the law only prohibits the use of hydraulic fracturing, but does not impose a ban on the exploration or exploitation of gas through other techniques. As the technique is not clearly defined by the law, small changes and new innovations might already have the ability to circumvent this ban. However, in June 2017, the French minister of environmental transition announced that there would no longer be any permits granted for the exploration or extraction of hydrocarbons in France. Nice one, France!

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August 28th, 2017

Privatized Profits, Socialized Risks: The Ruse of Natural Gas Exports

The natural gas export boom is tied to the spread of fracking, an inherently dangerous activity that threatens public health and our climate.

By Mitch Jones
Originally published in Food & Water Watch

Food & Water Watch’s Mitch Jones on what Congress SHOULD push for.

A new Short Term Energy Outlook released by the United States Energy Information Administration this week predicts that the U.S. will become a net exporter of natural gas this year and will remain so for the foreseeable future. That’s a remarkable turn of events given that the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the lower 48 states didn’t happen until February 2016. In addition to the existing pipelines for export of LNG to Canada, pipeline capacity for exports to Mexico are set to almost double by 2019. In addition, LNG export facilities are being expanded at Sabine Pass in Louisiana and Cove Point in Maryland is set to open later this year. Four additional facilities are currently under construction and expected to be exporting by 2020 when the United Sates is set to become the third largest exporter of LNG in the world.

The drive to ship natural gas overseas isn’t limited to LNG. The Mariner East 2 pipeline in Pennsylvania is being developed to export natural gas liquids for the plastics industry. The growth of the exploitation of fracked gas in the Marcellus Shale has been a boon for the plastics industry. It relies on petrochemical manufacturing to turn ethane, found in “wet” natural gas along with methane and other hydrocarbons, into plastics. Since 2012 chemical companies have aggressively invested in petrochemical plants and export facilities focused on profiting off the ethane glut that results from fracking.

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