Greens/EFA are mentioning the EU open letter from today (16 Jan. 2014)http://stopclimatechange.net/meta/article/article/875/
This week saw leaked draft recommendations and a draft communication on shale gas from the European Commission circulated widely before their proposed release next week as part of an overall climate and energy package.
In a U-turn from their previous course to deliver binding legislative proposals on shale gas and other unconventional hydrocarbon extraction (usually, but not always, through the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing), the Commission has instead given in to the huge pressure put on them by a handful of fossil fuel companies – Total, Chevron, ConocoPhillips – and propose only recommendations.
Greens reacted with outrage that the European Commission, after months of planning, consultation, studies identifying how legislative proposals are necessary, stakeholder meetings and so on, would dramatically fail the citizens of Europe in such a spectacular way.
These recommendations are not enforceable by any law, and so companies can pick and choose which ones to follow, and which ones to completely ignore. Member States will be graded on a ‘scoreboard’, making a mockery of potentially devastating consequences of unregulated exploration. Contaminate a village’s water supply? Minus 2! Jeopardise agricultural production for years to come? Minus 5!
Leading the lobby against binding proposals are the UK Government, with the arrogant assumption that Europe will not repeat the same mistakes as the US, despite starting off by repeating exactly the same mistakes as the US – that of giving all the power to companies to frack away as they wish, at the expense of citizens and the environment.
Citizens however are fighting back, and today 248 groups from civil society and anti-fracking groups have sent a letter targeting President Barroso, Commissioners, European Council Members and national Heads of States and ministers, as well as Members of the European Parliament, condemning the recent dropping of shale gas from the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive – another win for the UK. The outlook is worrying, but with citizens mobilising more than ever, Greens continue to campaign for a ban on shale gas!