France Upholds Fracking Ban

Monday, October 14, 2013 @ 03:10 PM gHale

Fracking took a hit in Europe last week as France’s highest court on Friday upheld a government ban on the oil and gas drilling technique.

The Constitutional Council ruled against a challenge by Schuepbach Energy, an American company, whose exploration permits ended up revoked after the French Parliament banned the practice.

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Fracking pumps water, sand and chemicals under high pressure into shale formations deep underground to crush the rock and release trapped oil and natural gas deposits. The success of the technique over the last decade has led the United States to now claim to be 87 percent self-sufficient in natural gas.

What is now happening in the U.S. and in Europe is environmental groups are saying there is not enough data to support rampant fracking across the country. So, the government should get involved and slow things down until there is a clear understand of the environmental impact to the land and to humans.

Environmental groups in Europe slowed adoption of the practice, and the center-right government of former President Nicolas Sarkozy passed a law prohibiting it in 2011.

Schuepbach Energy said the law violated its rights, unfairly singled out fracking and was unconstitutional. The court rejected those arguments.

In addition to France, Bulgaria banned fracking. Britain has allowed modest experiments. The fracking industry hopes Germany, which decided to end its atomic power after the Fukushima Dai-ichi disaster in Japan, would be receptive to fracking. However, that has not come to pass as yet.

The United States Energy Information Agency estimates there are 137 trillion cubic feet of “technically recoverable” gas in France, equivalent to quite a few decades worth of national consumption.

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