Food & Water Europe Congratulates MEPS on Endorsing Mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment for Shale Gas Drilling



Brussels – Today, members of the European Parliament endorsed proposals to impose a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all shale gas and other unconventional drilling activities in the European Union.[1] For Food & Water Europe, this is a major victory, as MEPs showed a healthly dose of suspicion about the empty promises of the shale gas industry and about its ability to guarantee so-called “safe fracking”. Imposing a mandatory EIA for shale gas drilling is the start of adapting the EU regulatory framework to the ugly reality of unconventional hydrocarbons in the EU. This vote demonstrates a resolve among MEPs to avoid the negative impacts of an out-of-control boom in shale gas drilling in the United States. A mandatory EIA will provide local people and authorities with the necessary baseline data in areas with drilling, increase the preparedness among environmental agencies and local authorities and offer local communities an opportunity to be consulted early on in the process. MEPs saw through the smokescreen of the numerous events to promote “sustainable fracking” in Brussels, organised by the fossil fuel industry and its allies.

“This vote to impose a mandatory EIA for all shale gas drilling was a litmus test for the resolve among MEPs to demand an adequate risk-management framework for shale gas activities in Europe,” said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock. “The majority in favour of this proposal should be a boost of confidence for Environment Commissioner Potocnick to bring forward stringent proposals for this risky industry”.

The European Commission is scheduled to publish its proposals for a risk-management framework for unconventional hydrocarbon activities by the end of 2013, covering the wide range of risks associated with the practice of fracking. With today’s vote, MEPs clearly signaled to the Commission that stringent rules on chemicals use, well integrity, waste management, air and methane emissions and liability will find strong support in the European Parliament. 

Contact: Geert Decock tel. +32 (0)2 893 10 45, mobile +32 (0)484 629.491, gdecock(at)

[1] In its first resolution on shale gas, voted in November 2012, the Parliament had already called on the European Commission to include “projects including hydraulic fracturing in Annex I of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive”European Parliament (2012, November) EP resolution of 21 November 2012 on the environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction activities (2011/2308(INI)).

Food & Water Europe Launches to Tackle Corporate Spin about Fracking



For immediate release

Brussels – Today, Food & Water Europe launched a new website,, to challenge the fossil fuel industry’s spin on that shale gas can be safely extracted. will redirect visitors to the Food & Water Europe website to offer a fact-based assessment of the environmental and health impacts of large-scale hydraulic fracturing. Food & Water Europe takes issue with industry’s denial of strong links between shale gas extraction and water contamination in the United States. In addition, self-regulation and voluntary disclosure mechanisms for chemicals used in fracking fluids are insufficient to monitor a high-risk activity such as hydraulic fracturing in a densely populated continent like Europe. Food & Water Europe works in Brussels on a campaign to ban fracking.

The oil and gas industry has no credibility to dismiss the negative impacts of shale gas given its poor record on environmental issues and transparency,” said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock. “This is why we decided to launch It is our role as NGOs to offer unbiased information to European citizens about the negative implications of large-scale shale gas extraction”.

Peer-reviewed scientific evidence, industry publications and hundreds of cases all point to the same conclusions: The oil and gas industry continues to struggle with securing the integrity of its wells. As a result of poor cementing practices and casing failures, toxic fracking fluids and methane have migrated to nearby aquifers and will continue to do so.

With regard to the chemicals used in fracking, shale gas operators launched FrackFocus, a voluntary chemicals disclosure registry, in response to public concerns in the United States. However, FrackFocus continues to allow trade-secret exemptions to conceal the exact composition of the chemical mixtures used and impedes easy analysis of the information provided (e.g. bulk download of data is not possible).

“Europeans need a better understanding of the risks involved in hydraulic fracturing and public authorities have a key role to play in guaranteeing high environmental and public health standards,” said De Cock. “Voluntary measures such as and self-regulation will not be sufficient for monitoring the beginning of this high risk industrial activity in Europe.”

Statement by Food and Water Europe at Roundtable on Shale Gas (PDF).


Food & Water Europe web page on fracking:

Contact: Geert De Cock tel. +32 (0)2 893 10 45, mobile +32 (0)484 629.491, gdecock(at) 

U.S. Energy Insecurity: Why Fracking for Oil and Natural Gas Is a False Solution


But for whom is it really a blessing? Loose talk about domestic oil and natural gas abundance in order to justify and promote widespread drilling and fracking gives Americans a false sense of energy security. Hinging U.S. energy policy on fracking, and thus betting America’s future on the supposed abundance of oil and natural gas, would simply perpetuate America’s destructive dependence on the oil and gas industry. The only security that would be enjoyed is the security of the industry’s profits.Promoters of modern drilling and fracking celebrate the industry’s newfound ability to extract oil and natural gas from shale and other tight rock formations, calling it an energy “revolution,” a “paradigm-shifter,” a “rebirth” and a “game changer.” One recent report claims that North America might soon become “the new Middle East,” a net exporter of oil and natural gas. In April 2012, ConocoPhillips’s CEO at the time called shale gas a “blessing.” In this report, Food & Water Watch exposes the misconceptions, falsehoods and misleading statements behind the claims that modern drilling and fracking for oil and natural gas can deliver U.S. energy security. Briefly, Food & Water Watch finds that:

  • The popular claim that the United States has 100 years worth of natural gas presumes not only that no place would be off-limits to drilling and fracking, but also that highly uncertain estimates of domestic natural gas resources are accurate;
  • Even assuming that the industry’s dreams of unrestricted drilling and fracking for natural gas come true and that resource estimates prove accurate, plans to increase the rate of consumption of U.S. natural gas easily cut the claim to 50 years, well within the lifetime of college students today;
  • Among these plans are 19 proposals, as of October 26, 2012, to sell U.S. natural gas on foreign markets to maximize oil and gas profits. Combined, these proposals alone mean that annual natural gas exports could reach the equivalent of over 40 percent of total U.S. consumption of natural gas in 2011; and
  • Even if the highly uncertain estimates of “tight oil” reserves prove accurate, and even if the oil and gas industry wins unrestricted access to drill and frack for oil, the estimated reserves would amount to a supply of less than seven years.

The United States can transition off of fossil fuels, but it will require remaking the U.S. energy system around proven clean energy solutions: conservation, efficiency and renewables. Such a remaking would underpin broadbased and sustained economic growth, circumvent the environmental and public health costs of extracting and burning fossil fuels and usher in an era of true U.S. energy security, independence and resilience. The threat is that the fossil fuel industry — empowered by its deep pockets, armed with increasingly intensive extraction methods and bolstered by entrenched infrastructure and demand for its product — will succeed in delaying the necessary transformation for decades, just to protect its bottom line. Now is the time for the United States to declare independence from the oil and gas industry.

Fracking: The New Global Water Crisis

FrackingGlobalWaterCrisisNew drilling and fracking techniques have been a boon for the oil and gas industry in the United States, making it possible for companies to extract large quantities of oil and gas from shales and other “tight” rock formations. However, shale development has been a nightmare for those exposed to the resulting pollution.