Last week the French government was the first to enact a law forbidding hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking”.
This technology enables to recover shale gas via the use of massive amounts of water and chemicals. The former remaining afterward polluted, hence the controversy.
The law had been discussed by both the lower and upper chambers since March before being finally enacted on June 30th by the Senate with 176 votes in favor and 151 against.
It is noteworthy that the senators who voted against the law believed it wasn’t going far enough. Indeed, as Scientific American notes, the vote doesn’t not ban other methods to recover shale gas.
As you can surely imagine, large energy companies like the French oil giant Total are “deploring” this. Indeed, as the website Natural Gas for Europe notes :
” French shale oil and gas fields are potentially some of the most promising in Europe but remain “largely” unknown due to a lack of exploration, and the potential commercial viability of the fields is also unknown because of a lack of tests. “
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, New Jersey took a similar decision. The vote there was massively against as the Senate voted 33 against and only one for.
This occurs as the State of New York in the United States is preparing to lift a moratorium on the same method.
To conclude, I would like to give my personal opinion as I believe all countries should follow the lead.
Indeed, finding more oil and gas is only pursuing the headlong rush, and postponing the inevitable. We need to get out of oil, gas and coal, not finding more sources. Fossil fuels are already massively polluting, finding new ways to extract them will be even more polluting. It is high time we work on energy efficiency and low carbon energy sources…
Image credit : Flickr, animoore