FRACKING FREE EUROPE

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Frack Free Europe Website – launched 9 April 2014

Paul Murphy, the first frack free MEP (in the world)– http://frackingfreeireland.org/2014/04/09/paul-murphy-first-irish-frack-free-mep/

EU – elections MEP and candidates contact details
http://frackingfreeireland.org/2014/04/23/european-elections-mepcandidates-position-on-fracking/


Gasland 2 and Conference Brussels – Unfracked, why shale gas should stay in the ground.
4 and 5 Sept. 2013

The recorded live stream and the presentations of the conference:

http://www.greens-efa.eu/de/unfracked-10219.html

Josh Fox:’ I would love to come to Ireland‘ (youtube ) and here his final musical answer.

IMG_0371

Josh loves to come to Ireland, pictured with Fracking Free Ireland

You can access the live recording of the conference here. On this page it is also possible to download the powerpoints of the speakers, as well as a transcript of the day.

You can also access pdfs of Greens/EFA campaign materials here. This includes our new “Fracktivists introduction to EU legislation” which was available at the conference, and which we will have translated into other European languages shortly.

Our photos from the event are here and also on the Facebook event for the conference. Please feel free to share more through this event page

Josh Fox in the EU Parliament – http://vimeo.com/74041271
http://vimeo.com/74001053

Transcript and Powerpoint Presentations of Unfracked Conference
Transcript – Unfracked Conference 05-09-2013 Speech to Text interpretation

Geert Ritsema  presentation_EP_050113_FoENL.
John Armstrong  Brussels Presentation 2
Grabrielle Petron – een_EU_Petron20130905
Mike Hill – The Greens SHale Conf EU Sept 2013 Mike Hill_ for print

Programme

9:15-11:00
Part 1: Fracking-free zones and the legislative framework 

Welcome and introduction by José Bové MEP

Presentation and Q&A of case study of fracking-free zones in Netherlands
Geert Ritsema
, Campaign coordinator Friends of the Earth, Netherlands

Presentation from US Frack Action campaign
John Armstrong

Presentations from the floor

Presentation on European legislative framework
Helène Bras
, lawyer, France

Questions & Answers / open debate

 

11:00-12:45
Part 2: Top myths about shale gas explained

Introduction and moderation by Carl Schlyter MEP

Shale gas extraction is good for the climate
Gabrielle Petron, University of Colorado

Q&A

The existing legislative framework is adequate
Mike Hill, oil & gas engineer, UK

Q&A

Short contribution from DG Environment

Q&A

Shale gas is good for the economy
Thomas Porcher, economist, France

Q&A

Shale gas poses minimal risk to public health
Sandra Steingraber (via skype)

Further questions/open debate

Presentation of Greens/EFA materials and conclusions
by Sandrine Bélier MEP
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STAKEHOLDERS MEETING  in Brussels 7th June 2013
Correspondent: Aedin
This meeting in Brussels was very worthwhile, we were delighted to be able to contribute as much as we did.  Between the three of us (Geralyn, Geraldine and myself) and Brian (Meaney?), the Irish voice was definitely heard.

PRESS  release by Aedin McLoughlin

64% of EU citizens against development of Shale Gas
The results of an EU on-line questionnaire on fracking were presented at a meeting on 7th June in Brussels, attended by Irish representatives of the campaign against fracking.  Almost 23,000 people responded to the questionnaire, a large majority of which agree on the lack of adequate legislation, the need for public information and the lack of public acceptance of unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas).  When the responses were weighted to reflect EU Member States’ population, they indicated that 64% of EU citizens thought that shale gas should not be developed in Europe at all.
Following presentation of the results, a broadly-based discussion of the environmental impacts of fracking took place.  The health impacts of fracking and the importance of applying the precautionary principle to proposals to frack were emphasised by the Irish representatives which included Dr Geralyn McCarron (Fermanagh), Geraldine Ring (Cork) and Dr Aedin McLoughlin (Leitrim).
Dr McCarron spoke about the impacts of contamination from fracking on a rural community she has studied in Australia.  “There was a range of symptoms related to neurotoxicity (damage to the nervous system), including severe fatigue, weakness, headaches, numbness and paraesthesia (pins and needles.  Almost all the children suffered from headaches and for over half of these the headaches were severe.   Other symptoms reported among the population included increases in cough, chest tightness, rashes, difficulty sleeping, joint pains, muscle pains and spasms, nausea and vomiting.”
Dr McCarron said that Health Impact Assessments, carried out with internationally recognised protocols, must be an integral part of every unconventional gas development proposal.
Aedín McLoughlin from GEAI  pointed out that throughout Europe, proposals for exploration included drilling and fracking in border areas (e.g. Leitrim/Fermanagh.   “Such exploration must not proceed without a common policy and regulatory framework between the two jurisdictions involved.  Water knows no borders and the areas targeted include the two major waterways of the  Shannon and Erne Rivers.”
She also stressed the importance of the precautionary principle and how it must be applied:  Proposals for on-shore unconventional gas exploration to be considered new plans or programmes by EU Member States and Strategic Environmental Assessments to be carried out on all such proposals as per  SEA Directive 2001; Health Impact Assessments to be carried out on all such proposals; and Environmental Impact Studies to be carried out on all stages of fracking, to include studies of the cumulative impacts of such developments.  “Finally, we consider that a Moratorium on unconventional gas exploration or extraction must be implemented in each Member State until such studies show that environmental degradation or adverse public health impacts will not result from such projects,” she concluded.
Geraldine Ring spoke about the gaps that have been already identified by the Commission in existing Directives.   “The current EU regulatory framework concerning hydraulic fracturing has a number of gaps,” she said.  “Most importantly, the threshold for Environmental Impact Assessments to be carried out on fracking is set far higher than would be required for individual pads, and EIAs are not necessarily required.  The threshold for EIAs must therefore be lowered as a matter of priority.
The Water Framework Directive also has gaps and must be re-assessed with special focus on hydraulic fracturing and its impacts on surface water.”
Dr McLoughlin also visited the EU Parliament and had a discussion about the meeting with MEP Marian Harkin’s staff.
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Reporter Antoine Simon:

As advertised last week, the European Commission organised last Friday a stakeholders meeting aiming at presenting the first results of the European public consultation that took place beginning of the year but also aiming at putting everything on the table and discussing about the main risks associated with UFF activities and about the way to best mitigate them (if this can ever be done, of course…).
The meeting was quite well attended but not as much as expected. Much more interesting, the people in the room represented very diverse actors potentially interested or affected by the possible development of the UFF business in Europe. Industry representatives, NGOs were there but also several members of local and national groups of resistance (notably from Ireland, Sweden, Flanders and Australia), representatives of the food sector, of the trade unions, of the water sector, permanent representation of European member states, people from petrochemical and cement sectors, etc.

The meeting started with a presentation of the first results of the European public consultation and these results are actually extremely interesting. You can find there HERE.
(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/pdf/Presentation_07062013.pdf)

First, around 23.000 people responded. A large majority came from private individuals, but 783 answers were sent on behalf of organisations (companies, NGOs, industry and trade associations, intergovernmental organisations, national, regional and local authorities and academic institutions).
Half of these answers came from… Poland, thanks to national campaign coordinated by the Polish government, which of course significantly influence the final results.
Because this Polish participation gives quite a misleading overview of the general perception of what people think about shale gas in Europe, the European Commission presented an interesting additional slide (look at the slide n°27):
The results as they were received (with half of the answers from Poland) show that:
31% of participants think UFF “should be developed in Europe anyway”.
30% think UFF “should be developed in Europe only if proper health and environmental safeguards are in place”
34% think UFF “should not be developed in Europe at all”
However, when these results are weighted by population (under the assumption that each respondent would represent an equal share of the population of his country of residence), they show that:
12% of participants think UFF “should be developed in Europe anyway”.
20% of participants think UFF “should be developed in Europe only if proper health and environmental safeguards are in place”
64% of participants think UFF “should not be developed in Europe at all”
You can find more information about the stakeholders meeting HERE   (http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/uff_event_7june2013_en.htm)
and in this EurActiv article. (http://www.euractiv.com/energy/shale-gas-eldorado-europe-reach-news-528443)

This is of course a significant result and a clear sign that a large majority of the European population doesn’t want UFF no matter how “well” regulated this industry can be. This is of course a result that the European Commission will not easily deal with. Despite these promising results, the European Commission still doesn’t have the competence to draft a legislation banning fracking or shale gas or UFF. However, with such results and also with the accumulation of arguments about the environmental, climate and social impacts associated with this industry, presented during that meeting, it seems more and more likely that the European Commission will have no other choice than coming up with a strong proposal.
One other thing that you should know: The European Commission is still welcoming contributions. You can contact them to share documents with them at this email address: ENV-SHALE-GAS@ec.europa.eu. What they expect are documents bringing evidence of impacts associated with UFF activities, so that they could take them in consideration in the drafting of the proposal. Use that opportunity not to necessarily bombard them with emails but more to choose what you want to present and bring strong evidence.

And as usual, if you have any question about this or about EU discussions, send me an email.

All the best,

Antoine Simon
Economic Justice Programme
Extractive Industries Campaigner
Friends of the Earth Europe
TEL: +32 2 893 1018
FAX: +32 2 893 1035
antoine.simon@foeeurope.org
Skype: antoine.foee
www.foeeurope.org
www.facebook.com/FoEEurope
www.twitter.com/foeeurope
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International campaigners meeting in Beroun, Czech Republic. 6- 8 March 2013
After the successful first international meeting in Brussels a second meeting was organised in Beroun and attended by two of our campaigners.

Here a short comment:
‘I found it a very busy and productive two days and so useful to meet face-to-face with people from other countries and hear about their experiences, especially those few who have succeeded in leading highly successful campaigns to ban fracking like the Bulgarians. Borislav Sandov,  the charismatic leader of the Bulgarian campaign, would be an excellent person to invite over to Ireland some time soon to speak to different groups about campaigning tactics in general, as he managed to successfully unite different environmental groups to campaign against fracking. He speaks fluent English and said he would love to come over to talk to us so just name a date! :)
On the other hand, it was upsetting to hear about countries such as Poland and the Ukraine where they are facing a massive battle against the industry. They need all our solidarity and support.!

A quick update on the Beroun Call to Action international conference, held in the Czech Republic last week and organised by the Czech anti-fracking campaign group STOP HF. Tom White gave an excellent presentation on the Irish situation and I distributed some campaign material. We both found it very useful to hear how some countries have won the fight against fracking (for now) while others face an uphill battle. A detailed report with presentations from the different campaign groups and some experts, as well as photos and videos, will follow shortly. The event only lasted two days, so not a whole lot could be discussed or achieved, but two main points for now:

1. With the ambition to present a better organised resistance to our enemies, the main focus of this event, initiated by the Czechs, was to create a Global Frack Free Network. (The exact name has yet to be finalised, but this is more or less what most groups have agreed on for now.) After a lengthy discussion, those present – representatives from 11 European countries, South Africa and the US – all agreed to the joint statement below. The overarching aim of this inclusive network is to work towards a frack-free world by sharing information and expertise (legal, scientific, etc.) with each other – which is already happening to a degree, but needs to happen more so we can be an even stronger force to be reckoned with. 😉

I hope those not able to attend can also agree to the statement, though some tweaks may be possible, I believe. Feedback on the name of the network or on other aspects is welcome too of course. Nothing is set in stone as yet and it’s important to point out that there is no hierarchy in this network but there are probably going to be various working groups so we can all work more efficiently towards our goal

So far, one of the French campaigners has taken the initiative of setting up a website where each country can add facts about the campaign and the most up-to-date information. The site is not perfect by any means, but it will be improved on in due course and as many as possible will be invited to give their feedback.

2. Many of the participants at the event decided it would be a good idea to show global solidarity and organise days of coordinated action (a little like the Global Frackdown Day last September, but held more frequently.) The first Global Day of Action will take place on March 22, World Water Day. Groups in different countries are invited to organise (small yet symbolic) actions to highlight the threat fracking poses to our water.

Joint Statement

Beroun Challenge 2013

On the 7th of March 2013, representatives and members of groups opposed to the method of
fracking (defined below) from 11 European countries, South Africa and USA agreed on the
creation of a global network whose purpose is to realise a frack-free world via:
– Uniting for a frack-free world
– Sharing and promotion of information and expertise
– Branding fracking as ecocide
– Branding fracking as human rights violations
– Coordinating actions
– Inviting other countries, individuals, groups and organisations to join the global network

We believe that the only meaningful way forward is to use safer, renewable and cleaner energy
sources.

Representatives from Russia, Hungary and India expressed their willingness to join the network.

We understand fracking as follows:

The technology of hydraulic fracturing / rupture / or any other technology which forces water or
a mixture of fluids (or gels or liquefied gas), or chemical additives and / or fluid, mechanical and
/ or organic fillers in drilling wells causing the creation of new formation and / or expansion of
existing natural cracks or fissure systems in all sedimentary formations, including coal seams for
exploration and production of oil and natural gas.
Non-taxative examples of application of this technology include: unconventional gas extraction, shale gas, tight gas, shale oil, tight oil, CBM, etc…

We regard fracking as all the processes of exploration and exploitation including all related
activities and impacts from seismic testing to after the wells are plugged.

In Beroun, Czech Republic, 7th of March 2013

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Dear all,

Unconventional hydrocarbon exploration – and soon extraction as well – are making headway in Europe. The fossil fuel industry has been successful in downplaying the risks involved in the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing and hyping its potential as an abundant and cleaner-burning fossil fuel, particularly for Member States that heavily rely on coal.

Before Christmas, you may have already heard about an EU-wide public consultation about shale gas. This consultation of the European Commission is part of an EU initiative to assess whether or not the EU has an appropriate regulatory framework that delivers “full consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and management of climate and environmental risks in line with public expectations” (annex to 2013 work programme). This work will serve two main goals: On the one hand, to make sure that the achievements of the European Union’s environmental rules in a wide range of areas like climate change, water, air, noise, etc. are not put at risk by the arrival of the shale gas industry. However, the work is also very much intended to remove possible obstacles in the EU’s environmental rules for the shale gas industry to start its work. This work by the European Commission is by no means intended to regulate unconventional hydrocarbons out of existence, rather to try and avoid the worst impacts of large-scale fracking and manage the many risks involved.

This consultation will not lead the European Commission to simply ban the unconventional gas industry, even if an overwhelming majority of participants would support a ban. However, consultations about other controversial topics (e.g. GMOs) typically only contain questions about how to manage the risks. This consultation about unconventional gas offers at least an opportunity to call for a ban, namely under section 2. “Overall perception”: “I believe unconventional fossil fuels extraction (e.g. shale gas) should not be developed in Europe at all”. If we can mobilize our groups and supporters to submit their views, this will send a clear message to policy-makers about the limited public acceptability of unconventional hydrocarbons in Europe.

This is why we need you to spread this message as widely as possible and encourage each individual of your respective network to take part to this consultation and to answer as much as possible in a coordinated and consistent way. The more coordinated and consistent, the more powerful the message will be. If possible, let’s try to get as many organisations as possible to participate in this effort!

Here is the link to EC website where you can take part to the public consultation either as an individual or as an organization: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/uff_en.htm

You can find enclosed a pdf version of our suggestions. In addition, you can also find below our suggestions for the sections of the consultation that offer the opportunity for an open reply. Given the limited space available, it is impossible to address all of our concerns or go into great detail. These suggestions – i.e. just some of our ideas, which you are free to adapt or ignore – can help you and your respective organization respond to this questionnaire.
From experience, we know that we would maximize our chance of being heard and taken in consideration if the questionnaire is filled out in English.

And, as usual, if you have any question or comment regarding this email or the consultation, feel free to contact me (antoine.simon@foeeurope.org) or Geert (gdecock@fweurope.org).

 

 

!! DEADLINE: March 23, 2012 !!

Example pdf: Example

 

 

Scroll down for the video: European Parliament plenary session 20th and 21st November.
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Conference in Brussels 10-12 Oct. 2012

Friends of the Earth Europe organised an international conference in Brussels. 38  shale gas campaigners from various countries gathered to give an update on the shale gas and fracking situation in their countries. Representatives from Scotland, UK, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Australia and the EU shared their concerns and experiences with (the threat of) hydraulic fracturing. Time was also allocated to meet our MEP’s. It was a very fruitful and inspiring conference. Thanks to all for the organisation.

Here you will find some pictures on Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/foeeurope

A small demonstration in front of the EU Parliament.

Groups picture

UK, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland


Australia against fracking

Campaigners from Czech republic. A ban on fracking (has to be implemented) After the conference they went to Germany to visit a fracking site, the perfect site for a short movie on fracking.

Germany.  North Rhein Westphalia issued an EPA report. The authors had to sign that they are not liaised to any University

Campaigners from Bulgaria. Left: Borislav Sandow (‘Bobby Sands’,) a member of the Greens.
They managed to gather 500.000 signatures for the petition, 60.000 people on face and a moratorium within 6 months since they started their campaign. Bulgaria has 7 million people (Ireland has approx. 4 million)
An Irish filmcrew will make a movie on fracking in two Bulgarian villages.http://www.sligotoday.ie/details.php?id=22489 
http://www.catherinefilms.net/fracking/


Fracking update by Hungary


Fracking maps

Fracking in the UK, Scotland and Ireland Blue: licensed area’s Red dots: campaign groups


Fracking (Free) France – blue area are fracking zones, red dots are campaign groups


Fracking in Spain: blue is licensed area’s, red is fracking area’s


Sweden

Germany  and Austria Green = Fracking Free zone

Poland and Czech Republic
Red = active  fracking companies, red dots = campaign groups

The Netherlands and Belgium

Hungary (left) Romania (right) and Bulgaria. Note: green in Bulgaria: Moratorium, fracking free zone (country)

More Fracking maps :
http://frackingfreeireland.org/info-to-download/maps/
http://frackingfreeireland.org/global-fracking/    scroll down for the various countries and maps

Mapping finished! Ireland (Ineke),  Bulgaria and Austria

The EU Parliament where we met our MEP’s

___________________________________________________________________________________________

ENVI/ITRE reports

Voting results 21 November 2012

P7_PV(2012)11-21(RCV)_en

FRIENDS OF THE EARTH EUROPE
Press release
For immediate release: Wednesday November 21, 2012

***
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TAKES WEAK STANCE ON RISKY FUEL
Missed opportunity to impose moratorium on ‘fracking’ for shale gas

***
Brussels, November 21, 2012 – In a vote on two parliamentary reports on shale gas, despite widespread recognition of the dangers of ‘fracking’, a split European Parliament did not impose a de facto moratorium, or ensure the highest possible environmental and health standards for an undeniably dangerous technology [1].
Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “The European Parliament missed an opportunity to take decisive action today to prevent the further spread of shale gas in Europe. Some of the inherent risks of shale gas were recognised, but there’s still a risk that the dangerous experiment played out on health and the environment in the US could be conducted in Europe.”
The reports prepared by the committees on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment and Public Health (ENVI) recognise the undeniably negative environmental, climate and health impacts of shale gas development [2], and call upon the European Commission to strengthen current environmental legislation related to shale gas, to be implemented by the member states.
Antoine Simon continued: “Although still not enough, one-third of MEPs voted for a moratorium. The various risks of extreme energy like shale gas are recognised in the reports, urging the European Commission to act with strong legislation.”

“The dash for unconventional gas won’t bring the economic and energy benefits touted by the industry –it will lock Europe into a future of dirty fossil fuel use, with all the associated negative environmental and social impacts.”

Intense industry lobbying leaves an ambiguous position on shale gas and other unconventional fuels, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, with the inclusion in the reports of overly optimistic projections of the economic benefits of shale gas and its role as a transition fuel reliant upon unproven technologies.

Friends of the Earth Europe is campaigning for European member states to suspend on-going shale gas activities, retract permits, and place bans on any new projects, whether exploration or exploitation. Europe must embrace a low-carbon energy model, based on renewable energy and improved energy savings – the only genuine path towards an environmentally sustainable and healthy future.

***

For more information please contact:

Antoine Simon, shale gas campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe,
Tel: +32 (0) 2 893 10 18, Mob: +32 (0) 486 685 664, email: antoine.simon@foeeurope.org

Sam Fleet, communications officer, Friends of the Earth Europe, (EN)
Tel: +32 (0) 2893 1012, Mob: +32 (0) 470 072 049, samuel.fleet@foeeurope.org

***

NOTES:
[1] The European Parliament voted today on reports from the committees working on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Environment and Public Health (ENVI). These reports outline the European Parliament’s position on the impacts of shale gas development in Europe on its environment, industry, energy choices and population’s health: http://www.foeeurope.org/shale-gas-risks-side-lined-by-industry-interests-180912
Results of vote: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sed/votingResults.do

[2] Read Friends of the Earth Europe’s report – Shale gas: unconventional and unwanted
http://www.foeeurope.org/shale-gas-unconventional-and-unwanted-200912

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
MEPs call for stricter environmental standards for fracking in Europe,
but fall short of endorsing a moratorium
Food & Water Europe commends the 262 MEPs, who supported the moratorium

Brussels – Despite intense lobbying by the fossil fuel industry, today’s vote in European Parliament demonstrates that there is no consensus for allowing large-scale shale gas development in Europe. More than one third of MEPs voted in support of a moratorium on fracking in the Parliament’s first vote on shale gas. Although the moratorium amendment fell short of a majority, the final version of the Parliament’s reports on shale gas identified the climate, environmental and health risks associated with unconventional gas.

While it is disappointing that a majority of the Parliament did not agree that an appropriate response to the documented risks of fracking is a moratorium, the reports and moratorium vote were only the first skirmish in the long-term battle to permanently ban fracking from Europe. Food & Water Europe – together with civil society groups across Europe – will continue to work with MEPs to increase awareness of the risks and negative impacts associated with large-scale unconventional gas activities.

“The fact that one-third of MEPs, representing a diverse political spectrum, voted in favour of the moratorium, shows that there is wide spread concern about fracking. These members saw through the fossil fuel industry’s smokescreen about‘ sustainable fracking,’” said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock. “These 262 MEPs recognised that forms of extreme energy like shale gas, will hinder, not facilitate, the transition to a much-needed low-carbon energy future.”

Food & Water Europe will make sure that the European Commission offers a swift follow-up to the Parliament’s call for “an EU-wide risk management framework for unconventional fossil fuels exploration and extraction”. Allowing the unconventional gas industry to be established detracts from the EU’s efforts to decarbonize its economy by 2050. We will continue to inform EU decision-makers about how importing extreme energy extraction methods will do little to reduce European gas prices or improve the EU’s energy security. A massive investment in shale gas will only lock Europe’s energy systems into a continued reliance on fossil fuels.
######
Food & Water Europe works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.

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

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Pro Fracking Exhibition in plenary room…
Citizens coalition or industry frontgroup? Covert lobby for shale gas enters European Parliament

On Wednesday 21 November all members of the European Parliament were due in the plenary room of the Strasbourg Parliament headquarters to vote on two reports1 on shale gas. The day before an exhibition was set up across from the plenary room to convince MEPs that shale gas has no environmental risks and needs no further regulation. What was not visible was that the group co-organising the exhibition and subsequent reception, the Responsible Energy Citizens Coalition (RECC), is a front group for big companies with commercial interest in shale gas development, such as Polish PGNiG.
http://corporateeurope.org/blog/citizens-coalition-or-industry-frontgroup-covert-lobby-shale-gas-enters-european-parliament
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European Parliament plenary session 20th and 21st November. This video puts together the Irish and Northern Irish MEP’s speeches, the day of the debate and the day of the vote. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqV53BatGYU&feature=youtu.be&noredirect=1


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Dear all,

Further to the recent vote of the two European Parliament’s shale gas reports, many people contacted us to know what would happen next at the EU level. That’s a very fair question it was, until very recently, difficult for us to answer to, considering the fact that even the European Commission wasn’t clear about its own plans.

However, things look a bit clearer now and I can tell you what’s in the pipe:

  • In its 2013 Work Programme, the European Commission mentioned they would launch an initiative about “Environmental climate and energy assessment framework to enable safe and secure unconventional hydrocarbon extraction”. In other words, it means that the European Commission (with DG Environment leading the file) has started to work on a potential stand-alone legislation aiming at regulating unconventional fossil fuels activities. They have already started some activities such as consulting with experts, launching new studies, organising expert meetings, in order to assess the impact of such legislation.

For your information, here are what the two studies they recently launched are about:

    • One legal study aiming at “identifying and assessing environment- and health-related regulatory provisions applicable to unconventional gas in eight selected EU Member States: Bulgaria, Denmark, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spain and UK.” (so I confirm France is not part of the list); and
    • One legislative study aiming at:
      • (i) identify and assess relevant measures for regulating the risks from unconventional gas developments;
      • (ii) prepare extended support for an impact assessment on the need and possible options for an EU risk management framework for unconventional gas;
      • (iii) in collaboration with the Commission and where a risk management framework is deemed necessary, provide support for developing possible measures and elements of that framework.

There will also be very soon a public consultation launched by DG Environment as part of that process, aiming at gathering EU citizens’ opinions about a certain number of aspects related to the development of unconventional fossil fuels activities in Europe. We will contact you with Geert when we’ll know more about it as we will really need your active and coordinated participation on this: To make sure our message is heard and is taken in consideration, we will have to be good and well-coordinated, with consistent answers possibly all in English. But again, we’ll communicate more about it.

Generally speaking, our position is difficult here. DG Environment is nicely including the involved NGOs in the discussions and we have a chance to influence what could be the final text, but on the other hand, we are reluctant to engage in a debate that would basically consist in sitting around the same table than the industry to develop a legislation that would please everyone. At least from a FoEE point of view, as we campaign for a ban on shale gas, we do not see how we couldn’t compromise ourselves and our main message if we were taking part to the development of a legislation that would basically allow shale gas activities to happen in Europe. However, as we know we cannot get a ban on shale gas at the EU level, our position here is not always easy and our strategy is at least always to ensure that EU legislation set the highest environmental standards it is possible to have in order to make shale gas operations economically not-viable for operators. I know this position is not always understood by groups and I wanted to remind this important point. But basically, to make one long story short, we will prepare with Geert a position paper to explain why, given the information we currently have, given the specificity of each drilling site and given the lack of transparency of operators, we do not see how it is possible to regulate such activity.

  • Review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive: A review of this essential piece of legislation started in 2010 and after a two-year work of the European Commission, the file is now transferred to the European Parliament. This is an essential piece of legislation as this legislation can guarantee that prior to any new UFF project an environmental impact assessment is done. This is notably what guarantees the participation of the local authorities and concerned local communities in the process of acceptance of a new project. For the moment, the UFF specificities are not covered by this legislation, that’s why we have started to work on this review to make sure gaps are closed and that an EIA is mandatory for UFF projects. In the coming months, we will also ask you to contact your MEPs to support the amendments we will work on, wishing you will agree to support them of course.
  • Other legislative works are also in our radar, such as the National Emission Ceilings (NEC) Directive (which could be a way to make sure methane emissions are properly taken into account) or the Horizon 2020 (a research and development programme aiming at funding research for Renewables but the shale gas lobby is pushing to also benefit from it)
  • Finally, I just wanted to give you an update of some action points that were taken during the meeting we had with certain members of this listserve in October in Brussels: I’ve been working quite a lot on funding applications these last few weeks and I hope I’ll receive some good news very soon, which will allow me to push forward some nice ideas suggested during the meeting. In particular, I hope I’ll be able to give you more information very soon about possible plans to have a dropbox-googledrive-like platform to exchange information (but which would hopefully be better structured and a bit less informal than dropbox and googledrive). The funding applications were focusing a lot on the shale gas mapping idea, and on the development of fact-sheets, notably about the economic aspects of shalegas, so I hope I’ll have more information for you in the coming months, so that we can start working together on concrete actions (for the groups which are interested, of course).

That’s all I have in mind for the moment but it will hopefully give you an overview of what’s currently happening at the EU level related to shale gas and other kinds of UFF. Please feel free to get in touch with me or Geert should you have any question or should you need clarification on certain points.

I wish you in advance a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year (I’ll be back from holidays on the 15th of January),

Best,

Antoine Simon Economic Justice Programme Extractive Industries Campaigner Friends of the Earth Europe Rue d’Edimbourg, 26 1050 Brussels (Belgium) TEL: +32 2 893 10 18 FAX: +32 2 893 10 35 antoine.simon@foeeurope.org Skype: antoine.foee www.foeeurope.org www.facebook.com/FoEEurope www.twitter.com/foeeurope