The European Parliament has on Wednesday voted to impose tougher rules governing the environmental impact of oil and conventional gas exploration, while at the same time exempting shale gas.
“Despite Parliament’s requests, mandatory environmental impact assessments for the extraction and exploration of shale gas, regardless of the expected yield, were not included in the legislation. However, new aspects of gas projects will have to be taken into account, notably the risks to human health due to water contamination, use of soil and water as well as the quality and regenerative capacity of water underground,” a statement said.
In reaction to the European Parliament’s vote on revisions to the rules concerning Environmental Impact Assessments, Marcus Pepperell, Spokesperson for Shale Gas Europe, said: “Europe is committed to delivering an environmentally sustainable, affordable and secure energy mix. Today’s vote is important since it reconfirms the European Commission’s aim to ensure that public health, climate and the environment are safeguarded without compromising the competitive exploration and development of shale gas projects. Shale gas could potentially play an important role in meeting Europe’s acute energy challenges and Member States are best placed to decide their respective energy mix within a set of common guidelines.”
Green politicians, however, said that the decision to leave out shale gas was a major setback.
“The failure to ensure that shale gas extraction projects and shale gas exploration involving the environmentally destructive fracking process are subject to compulsory environmental impact assessments is a major setback. The lack of an obligation for a basic standard of assessment and public participation, as provided for by EIAs, could lead to risky shale gas projects being bulldozed through in spite of environmental concerns and public will. With the EU Commission having decided not to propose any EU-level regulation of shale gas, this legislation compounds the blow to EU citizens and the environment,” Green environment spokesperson Sandrine Bélier said.
LNG World News Staff, March 14, 2014