THE EIA DIRECTIVE EXPLAINED
and more on this issue http://goodenergiesalliance.com/2013/10/09/outcome-of-plenary-vote-on-eia-for-fracking/
Reporter: Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP
Amendments 79, 112 and 126
Proposal for a directive
Annex – point -1 (new) Directive 2011/92/EU
(-1) Annex I is amended as follows:
(a) the title is replaced by the following:
“PROJECTS REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 4(1) (PROJECTS SUBJECT TO MANDATORY ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT)“
(b) the following point is inserted:
“4a. Open-cast mining and similar open-air extractive industries.”
(c) in point 7, point (a) is replaced by the following:
‘(a) construction of lines for long-distance railway traffic and of
(d) the following points are inserted:
limited to the phase involving the application of hydraulic fracturing, and
extraction of crude oil and/or natural gas trapped in gas-bearing strata of
shale or in other sedimentary rock formations
of equal or lesser permeability and porosity, regardless
of the amount extracted.
limited to the phase involving the application of hydraulic fracturing, and
extraction of natural gas from coal beds,regardless
of the amount extracted.
(e) point 19 is replaced by the
“19. Quarries and open-cast mining where the surface of the site
exceeds 25 hectares, gold mines which use processes involving cyanide ponds, or
peat extraction, where the surface of the site exceeds 150 hectares.”
(f) the following point is added:
“24a. Theme parks and golf courses planned for areas of water shortage
or at high risk of desertification or drought.”
In summary, the final result:
Extraction of shale gas and methane from coal beds require an EIA regardless
of the amount extracted.
Exploration of those two only for the phase where hydraulic fracturing is
Evaluation is not covered.
EIA DIRECTIVE PLENARY VOTE – 9 October 2013
Voting results (pp. 13-14) http://frackingfreeireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/voting-results.pdf
The roll-call votes (pp. 59-74). http://frackingfreeireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/roll-call-vote.pdf
Roll call votes Irish MEP’s (has to be corrected??) roll call vote 126
Attendance list http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fTEXT%2bPV%2b20131009%2bATT-REG%2bDOC%2bXML%2bV0%2f%2fEN
Speech Paul Murphy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE9iEINjByU
Fracking considered for new mining BREF
The European Commission may draft guidelines on avoiding pollution from hydraulic fracturing as part of an upcoming revision to the mining ‘BREF’.
The 10-year-old environmental guidance on mining in Europe must be updated to take account of new techniques and materials used in the sector, said a commission official.
By the end of the year or early 2014, stakeholders will be asked for their views on which parts of the BREF should be updated.
A contract for the Joint Research Centre to undertake the work was agreed last week. The review process could take up to three years.
The commission is considering whether EU legislation is needed on fracking. But this would not necessarily preclude the inclusion of fracking in the BREF, which was itself drafted before the mining waste directive was finalised, the official told ENDS.
Analysis of the current BREF undertaken for the commission last year found that “fundamental changes” had taken place since it was developed. The consultants noted the guidance is much narrower in scope than the mining waste directive. And because it predates new member states’ accession, many countries did not contribute.
A 2011 commission staff working paper said that uranium mining will be included in the best available techniques section of the next mining BREF.
• The mining waste directive would prevent incidents such as the Baia Mare cyanide spill in Romania in 2000, the head of DG Environment’s waste management unit has told MEPs. Plans for a large new mine using cyanide in Romania are causing concern in the country and in neighbouring Hungary.
Maximum concentrations of cyanide allowed under the directive are 200 times lower than those at Baia Mare, Julio Garcia Burgues told the European Parliament’s environment committee last week.
A ban is not on the cards because the alternatives to cyanide “are not economically viable or pose equal risks to the environment”.
A ban would result in the closure of existing mines in Finland, Sweden and Spain, or the export of the gold ore beyond the EU’s borders, where it would be processed under less stringent requirements, Mr Burgues added.
Some weeks ago I made an information request to the ECHA asking if there was any chemical substance which had required authorisation for being used in HF. This was the answer I got.
De: “ECHA ATD” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Fecha: 25/09/2013 13:49
Asunto: Communication in relation to your request (ATD 38/2013)
Para: “email@example.com” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Dear Mr Martín-Sosa Rodríguez,
In light of your access to documents application of 10 September 2013, registered under ATD 2013/38, in the context of the Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 on public access to documents, the competent service within ECHA performed a search in order to assess which data could be of relevance for you.
You requested inter alia the access to documents containing information on chemical substance to be used in the process of hydraulic fracturing.
Regarding REACH registration dossiers and the specific use “hydraulic fracturing“ ECHA would like to note that the precise application “hydraulic fracturing” goes beyond the granularity of a standardised use description in a registration dossier. Furthermore, the exposure estimation and risk characterisation suffer from the fact that case-specific exposure model predictions or measured exposure data are not available for safety assessment of hydraulic fracturing under REACH.
Based on your request, ECHA is therefore unable to identify any specific registration dossiers falling within the scope of your application.
We would however like to note that the European Commission (The DG Joint Research Centre – JRC), within the framework of the bilateral Administrative Agreement (AA) “Scientific and technical support to implementing REACH” (Framework in place between the JRC and DG Environment – DG ENV – concerning the provision of scientific and technical support to DG ENV in certain aspects of the implementation of REACH Regulation – AA No. 07.0307/2011/601224/AA/D3 of 14 September 2011), on request of DG ENV, has examined the Chemical Safety Reports of registration dossiers for a set of substances which are commonly used for hydraulic fracturing, in order to assess i.a. if the exposure scenarios could be considered relevant for shale gas operations. The work has resulted in a report, “Assessment of the use of substances in hydraulic fracturing of shale gas reservoirs under REACH”; this report has been freshly published and can be found from the JRC public repository under the following link: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/111111111/29386.
With regard to your request, this report might be of interest to you.
Furthermore, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published, within a Progress Report to a Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources, a list of Chemicals Identified in Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids and Wastewater. This list can be found on a dedicated website under: http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/hf-report20121214.pdf#page=209.
Regarding the substances identified by the European Commission, referred to above, and the substances listed by the EPA, we would like to note that you can use the ECHA Dissemination Portal to search for information on specific substances in case they have been registered under REACH; from the Dissemination Portal you can directly find information on the uses of a specific substance. You can search by entering in the search string a Chemical Name, EC number, CAS number or a IUPAC name.
We hope this helps to address your question.
Access to Documents team
European Chemicals Agency
Bloomberg BNA (EU)
Use of Chemicals for Fracking May Be Illegal Under REACH, European Commission Says
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
No pan-EU shale gas ban
EU Commissioner Janez Potočnik in Vilnius: No shale gas ban under discussion (July 17)
Brussels is not considering the possibility to suggest introducing a pan-EU ban on controversial shale gas but has called on member states to continue focusing on renewable energy resources, European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik says.
In an interview with BNS following a discussion with EU environment ministers in Vilnius, the commissioner said that the European Commission would present a proposal on ways to ensure environmental standards during shale gas exploitation but the scope of regulation was not decided yet.
Euractiv story about the EU court ruling on Poland’s shale gas licenses with a prominent quote from Antoine. (Friends of the Earth Europe)
Another story on the same theme apparently coming out tomorrow, with another quote from Antoine as well.
EU court casts doubt on legality of Poland’s shale gas licences- http://www.euractiv.com/energy/eu-court-casts-doubt-legality-po-news-529286Published 15 July 2013
Poland’s shale gas business is facing a serious challenge after the EU’s highest court ruled that Warsaw violated European law by allowing licences to be issued for the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, without fully open tenders.
The European Court of Justice ruling, issued on 27 June, affects around 100 shale gas exploration licences issued by Warsaw to firms which were accompanied by production permits that had not been put out to tender, in breach of the EU’s Hydrocarbon Directive.
The ruling could have grave consequences for Poland, Polish news media reported, with the country’s current policy aimed at protecting exploration licence holders’ interests by issuing subsequent production licences without tenders.
Friends of the Earth hailed the ruling as “a massive setback” for Poland’s shale gas industry, which would delay the roll-out of new drills and allow more time for the European Commission to draw up environmental legislation. (…)
EU court rules Polish shale licences illegal
This is the link to the judgment: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=138855&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=422710
Access to justice in environmental matters- http://ec.europa.eu/yourvoice/ipm/forms/dispatch?form=A2JUST
EU says it will not privatize water after popular uproar
Brussels (dpa) – Drinking water will not be privatized in the European Union, the bloc‘s executive said Friday, giving in to the first citizens initiative to gain widespread support since the system was introduced.
Right2Water, an organization fighting for water and sanitation to be recognized as a human right, has collected 1.5 million signatures amid fears that the EU was secretly planning to privatize water. …
Statement by President Barroso and Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan:
A practical guide to the strategic environmental assesment directiv – http://frackingfreeireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/practicalguidesea.pdf
EUROPEAN COMMISSION: EFFICIENCY KEY TO CO2 TARGETS
(19 Jun 13) Energy efficiency will be crucial to the decarbonization of the EU if nuclear and carbon capture cannot be fully exploited, Philip Lowe, the European Commission’s top energy official said at a 2030 stakeholder meeting.
Own-initiative Opinion on local and regional authorities perspective on Shale/Tight Gas and Oil (unconventional hydrocarbons)
Rapporteur: Mr Brian Meaney (IE/EA)
– Presentation of the draft opinion by the rapporteur
– Statement by a representative of the European Commission
– First discussion and adoption of the draft opinion
– Adoption foreseen at the plenary session of 28-29 November 2013
Stakeholder event – Unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas) in Europe – http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/energy/uff_event_7june2013_en.htm (FMN 111)
STAKEHOLDERS commission meeting 7 June is now online
By Agnieszka Barteczko and Pawel Florkiewicz – http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/27/poland-energy-funding-idUSL5N0E81DL20130527
WARSAW, May 27 (Reuters) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plans to shift its focus in Poland from the financial sector to the funding of energy projects to help the country to reduce its reliance on coal.
EU Energy Policy: Why We Must Fight Oettinger
Oettinger says: “English is the working language… Every skilled worker has to learn English…” but listen how he’s speaking English himself => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bGKfvBG9sM
The Baden-Württemberg CDU thought they could get rid of that right-winger Oettinger by sending him to Brussels. According to the Peter Principle this is a typical case of Lateral Arabesque
Final report – http://ubuntuone.com/1NRjEjH9naql7Jm4uu6zJN pdf
Cheap shale gas bubble ‘will burst within 2-4 years’: Expert – http://m.euractiv.com/details.php?aid=519931
A leaked letter sent by Markus Beyrer, the director of BusinessEurope, to our Taoiseach Enda Kenny shows that the industry group’s priorities have influenced today’s (22 May) summit’s agenda.
2013-05-14 Taoiseach_Energy Council
EU summit of 22 May – http://ec.europa.eu/energy/council/2013_en.htm
Commission calls for action on energy at the European Council
President Barroso at today’s European Council made a presentation on energy priorities for Europe in which he called for swift implementation of a number of proposals on the table.
ENERGY NEWS ON EURACTIV related to the summit
EU summit set to turn climate agenda upside down
Europe’s plan to decarbonise its economy by 2050 could be turned on its head at a summit today (22 May) if EU heads of state and government sign off on measures prioritising industrial competitiveness over climate change in draft conclusions seen by EurActiV
Energy savings hopes dashed by EU leaders’ ‘political cowardice’
Progress on energy efficiency was blocked at an EU summit on Wednesday (22 May) by a cocktail of myopic business interests and timid leadership, according to Hans Nilsson, a board member of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ECEEE).
Energy as usual at EU leaders summit – http://www.foeeurope.org/energy-as-usual-at-EU-leaders-summit-220513
BEYOND THE HYPE –
FOLLOW UP: BEYOND THE HYPE
In his recent message, Antoine Simon of FOEE already referred to our joint recent event in the European Parliament: Beyond the hype: The economics of shale gas in Europe.
After yesterday’s European Council meeting discussed energy issues, Euractiv published an article about shale gas by drawing on our event:
It sums up nicely how the link between shale gas and cheap energy in the US is unlikely to last in the longer term. And how the EU would be ill-advised to pursue shale gas for BOTH environmental and economic reasons.
The minutes of the May 14 event as well as a basic video recording of the event are available on the Food & Water Europe website:
Whisful thinking – Debunking the Myths the of Shale Gas Boom – http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/wishful-thinking-debunking-the-myths-of-the-shale-gas-boom/
Presentation Hughes – http://www.slideshare.net/gdecock/hughes-brussels-may-14-2013-1
Presentation Werner Zittel – http://www.slideshare.net/gdecock/zittel-shale-gaseuropeanperspective14may20132
STATEMENT food and water watch/foee – http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/Statement_FOEE_and_FWE_Shale_gas_event.pdf
Marian Harkin and Sean Kelly (very short) visited the event.
From our campaigner in Brussels:
Only Marian Harkin who was very attentive, asked questions and chatted to various people after and Sean Kelly who popped it briefly looked rather disinterested and too no notes whatsoever.
STATEMENT MARIAN HARKIN
Facts are against fracking as a real EU energy option: Harkin
The potential for shale gas to supply a significant part of Europe’s gas needs was today (15 May) strongly challenged by Independent MEP Marian Harkin following a key energy conference in the European Parliament.
Yesterday’s Brussels conference witnessed international energy expert Werner Zittel’s argument that shale gas would only produce between 2-3% of Europe’s future energy needs.
Harkin, who attended the conference, expressed her concern at the lack of a clear strategy by the EU Energy Commissioner on the issue of Europe’s energy supply.
“Just recently, Commission Oettinger said that there was a possibility of shale gas supplying between 10-15% of Europe’s energy needs in future, yet yesterday’s figures from the International Energy Agency, quoted by Werner Zittel, put that figure at 2-3% – significantly lower than Commission estimates,” she noted.
“This startling difference should have alarm bells ringing across European capitals, and should signal a significant impact on any integrated EU energy policy.
Risks outweigh rewards
“Aside from the very significant climate, environmental, social and health risks involved, it would be a nonsense for the EU Commissioner to start enabling the process of fracking for shale gas if it did not have the potential to make a significant contribution to energy security and help guarantee lower gas prices for EU citizens.
“While the question whether ‘to frack or not to frack’ is up to each EU Member State, the Commission is in a key position to provide accurate information and good policy guidance.
“The evidence we heard today from two experts – David Hughes and Werner Zittel – strongly challenged the hype surrounding shale gas as a genuine option for Europe’s much-desired energy security.
“It poses serious questions as to why any energy policy mix should include this new and expensive technology if there is not a reasonable return of gas supply.
“The EU and its individual Member States have to make policy choices based on good evidence, and the analysis we heard today indicates that fracking should not be part of any sustainable energy mix for Europe,” the Ireland North & West MEP concluded.
Marian with Mary-Jo Mullarkey, Member of the Irish in Europe Association (International), and Geraldine Ring, Fracking Free Ireland Brussels Branch following an event “Beyond the hype: The economics of shale gas in Europe” which was held in the European Parliament yesterday (May 14 2013)
EP rapporteur seeks mandatory EIA for shale gas
Wednesday 1 May 2013
Environmental impact assessments (EIAs) should be obligatory for the exploration and extraction of shale gas, says Italian MEP Andrea Zanoni.
The European Parliament’s rapporteur on a revision of the 1985 EIA directive argues that existing law and the European Commission’s proposals to amend it do not provide sufficient environmental protection in this area.
EIAs are compulsory for oil and gas extraction above certain production thresholds. But the ALDE MEP says these are too high to affect shale gas and other non-conventional hydrocarbons, as pointed out in a parliament report from 2011.
The proposed amendment to the commission’s draft revised directive also applies to shale oil, tight gas and coal-bed methane.
Compulsory EIA for shale gas is backed by the Bundesrat, the upper house of German parliament, and the country’s federal environment agency.
In contrast, the Polish government plans to limit the use of EIAs. A draft law tabled in February seeks an exemption for exploratory wells drilled to a depth of no more than 5,000 metres. But EIAs would be compulsory for all extraction wells.
Mr Zanoni’s proposals, which will be presented to the parliament’s environment committee on 6 May, strengthen several other elements of the draft revised directive. Reinforcing the public’s involvement in the decision-making process is a key theme.
The rapporteur wants to stop public organisations both proposing projects and taking decisions on them under the EIA directive. This potential conflict of interest is a serious issue, according to the MEP.
He also wants to restrict the use of an EIA exemption for emergency response works, which has been abused by certain member states in the past. And a proposed requirement for post-EIA monitoring would be strengthened.
Mr Zanoni is against establishing national accreditation schemes for EIA experts. A number of EU environment ministers are also opposed to this.
The UK-based Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) said the MEP’s amendments did not address the “fundamental concerns practitioners have with the proportionality of the commission’s proposals.”
“IEMA advises that the [IEA] directive’s revision process should give greater regard to this key principle in the EU’s Smart Regulation agenda,” according to Josh Fothergill, policy & practice lead at the institute.
The main page of the event: http://eu2013.ie/events/event-items/energyinformal-20130423/
Press release: http://eu2013.ie/news/news-items/20130424postenergypr/
The speech of Maria van der Hoeven, Executive Director, IEA:
European support for fracking increases- http://www.utilityproducts.com/news/2013/04/21/european-support-for-fracking-increases.html
Green light for fracking from EC – http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/green-light-for-fracking-from-ec-29217523.html
COMMENT: (by a campaigner)
This March I attended an event in Brussels where a DG Clima staff member claimed that there was still doubt over whether shale gas is dirtier than coal; the line from them is that there is a need to carry out further studies, ones based on the EU experience in particular. So this means they will need guinea pigs. Laid out in DG Environment’s Roadmap for shale gas dated November 2012, pilot projects have already been identified to explore the health and environmental impacts.
There are doubts about shale gas, but there are an awful lot of realities too. With regard to the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas, I’m afraid the only doubt being propagated is that by the industry because the independent peer-reviewed science is unanimous: when you take into account the entire lifecycle of shale gas development it actually emits more methane than conventional gas development. We also have hard data proving the high rate of fugitive emissions and methane leakage from shale gas developments in the US and in Australia.
Even if shale gas were clean, any further exploitation of fossil fuels is off the table. Climate change experts from the Tyndall centre and from Cornell University remain adamant that the EU will not be able to meet its climate change reduction targets unless we leave the gas where it belongs: in the ground.
The need to tackle climate change has become all the more urgent with last week’s rejection of reforms aimed at repairing the ailing Emissions Trading Scheme, the cornerstone of the European Union’s policy to combat climate change, yet the Commmission flies in the face of reason by issuing statements that grossly contradict EU policies on climate change. This begs the question: who does the Commission serve? Citizens or vested interests?
Let this be very clear to all decision-makers: European citizens do not want shale gas and do not need shale gas. In fact, public opposition to proposed developments is overwhelming. A Eurobarometer survey published in January 2013 showed that 74% of Europeans are opposed, and in Ireland that level of opposition is higher again at 81%. We do not need the gas either. Aside from the fact that consumption has been falling in Ireland in recent years due to the recession, the vast majority of Irish citizens are not prepared to sacrifice their health for a few years of gas. And with the Internal Energy Market aimed for completion by 2014, which effectively means a fully integrated single energy market, there is no guarantee gas extracted here will stay here either, or that it will be cheap.
If the industry and its paid puppets are foolish enough to think we will fall for their lies and propaganda – which they repeat ad nauseum in the face of overwhelming evidence proving the realities and dangers associated with unconventional gas development with the intent of brainwashing us – then they need to have a serious rethink. We know your game and will not fall for it.
As Mr Rabbitte said last week we should let the science decide. Indeed we should. All the independent, peer-reviewed science proves the manifold realities and dangers of this industry and supports our stance that the precationary principle be applied.
To quote Winston Churchill, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” Well, we have the truth and we will fight to the bitter end to get it out. No retreat. No surrender.
Oettinger talks up Europe’s shale gas potential
The EU should develop at least some of its shale gas resources to deal with the impact on competiveness of the US fracking boom, energy commissioner Günther Oettinger said at a ministerial meeting in Dublin on Wednesday.
“More member states are interested, open, not inactive or defensive,” Mr Oettinger said, signalling his strong support for developing Europe’s resources using the controversial hydraulic fracturing technique.
The EU executive will provide expertise and legal frameworks to support exploration and production while balancing environmental concerns, he added, pointing out that greater use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) will also be needed.
The difference between US and EU gas prices is now at a factor of 1:4.
Irish energy minister Pat Rabbitte agreed that the EU will have to deal with the “transformative impact” of the US shale boom. “Europe cannot afford to put its head in the sand and ignore the impact of what has happened,” he said.
A consultation on how the EU should deal with the environmental impacts of shale gas closed at the end of March. It received more than 23,000 responses and the results are unlikely to be made public until the end of June, an official said.
By the end of the year the European Commission will bring forward proposals but it has not yet decided whether these would be in the form of an overarching framework for shale gas development, or a set of amendments to existing legislation.
The commission does not have the power to propose a ban on fracking, but could put forward measures such as those already in place for oil drilling, the official said. A stakeholder meeting will be held in June in Brussels.
In France, business association MEDEF called for an end to the country’s ban on fracking, saying shale gas production could help protect competitiveness. But environment minister Delphine Batho said there would be no U-turn. “There are other alternatives to improve competitiveness such as green growth”, the minister noted.
Ministers in Dublin also discussed the recently tabled green paper on 2030 climate and energy targets. Mr Oettinger said a policy package was likely to be adopted in 2015. According to Pat Rabbitte, the new regime may have to “acknowledge geographic disparities” and allow EU countries to “play to their strengths”.
While the UK government wants a single decarbonisation target for 2030 and no more binding obligations for renewables, France would prefer multiple targets to continue. The UK could more easily meet a decarbonisation target than a renewables one and is already not on track to meet its 2020 renewables obligations.
Irish presidency statement http://eu2013.ie/news/news-items/20130424postenergypr/ and video gallery http://eu2013.ie/press-centre/video-gallery/
Video gallery – http://eu2013.ie/press-centre/video-gallery/
European court decision ‘a huge leap forward for nature conservation’ – 12 Apr 2013
An Taisce hails EU ruling on Galway bypass
A European Court of Justice ruling against a proposed Galway bypass has been described by An Taisce as “a huge leap forward for nature conservation, not only in Ireland but across the EU”.
In its judgment yesterday, the court ruled that permission may not be given for developments on priority conservation sites where there is a risk that it will bring about “the disappearance or the partial and irreparable destruction of the protected site”.
The 14–page judgment by the court ruled on three questions referred to it by the Supreme Court on the relationship between infrastructure applications and areas designated as environmentally–sensitive under the EU habitats directive. Planning application Galway West Fine Gael TD Sean Kyne has signalled that the planning authorities may make a new application for the outer bypass, citing overriding public interest.
Under article 6 (4) of the EU habitats directive projects which may have an adverse impact on the integrity of a designated site may go ahead on grounds of “imperative reasons of overriding public interest (IROPI)”.
Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has urged the Government to take” “immediate” action to secure the project through the IROPI clause.
Welcoming the ruling as a “landmark judgment”, An Taisce’s natural environment officer Andrew Jackson said its “beneficial conservation impacts” would apply to a total of 72 EU priority habit at s , of which 16 are located in Ireland.
Friends of the Irish Environment said: “This ensures that problems we have had with cases like raised bogs – the ‘death by a thousand cuts’ – must no longer be permitted. Even the partial destruction of protected areas may not be permitted.”
The Galway bypass would have resulted in the loss of 1.47 hectares of limestone pavement in the Lough Corrib Natura 2000 site, which covers 270 hectares. The court’s judgment, in a case brought by environmental act i vi s t Peter Sweetman, al s o confirmed that it is not necessary to prove t hat a project would lead to “irreparable destruct i on” as t he precautionary principle should be applied.
The British and Greek governments had intervened in the case, fearing that such a strict interpretation of EU conservation law would inhibit their own development projects, but ended up “on the losing side”, as Mr Jackson noted.
The case now reverts to the Supreme Court in Dubli n, which must apply the European court’s ruling in determining whether An Bord Pleanála’s decision in November 2008 to approve the bypass should now be quashed.
Eu Member states refuse to even try to clean up toxics in water – http://www.eeb.org/EEB/index.cfm/news-events/news/eu-member-states-refuse-to-even-try-to-clean-up-toxics-in-water/ (28 March 2013)
‘Argument’ map for shale gas production – http://www.tno.nl/downloads/argument_map_shale_gas_europe.pdf
Last Tuesday 19th Feb. 2013 TNO, a Dutch research organisation, launched an ‘argument map for shale gas production’ at the European Parliament. Below the press release from the event.
According to a Dutch campaigner, TNO is “a contract research organisation desperately claiming to be independent”. It also features on the Shale Gas Information Platform. (http://www.shale-gas-information-platform.org/areas/the-debate/shale-gas-in-the-netherlands.html
“Andreas Hübner (GFZ Potsdam – German Research Centre for Geosciences): “ The EU Member States’ version of the Argument Map is extremely useful for a balanced and transparent discussion. It complements ideally GFZ´s science-based communication and network project Shale Gas Information Platform SHIP and will facilitate informed decision making on local, national and European levels”.
On 19 February the “European Shale Gas Argument Map” containing the pros and cons of shale gas production in EU Member States was launched in the European Parliament. The map provides the foundation for an open discussion and helps the user make a balanced assessment. The European Shale Mind Map is a joint production of TNO and The Arguments Factory, international stakeholders from the public and private sector, government, NGOs and research institutions.
“Currently there is a public debate on this subject in different EU Member States and an independent overview of the arguments is essential to enable the parties to come to a consensus,” says Lambert van Nistelrooij, member of the European Parliament. “The European Shale Gas Argument Map is perfectly suited to this end since it has been developed by the independent organisation in TNO together with the Arguments Factory and international stakeholders from the public and private sector, government, NGOs and research organisations.”
Discussion and more insight for well-informed decision
René Peters, Director Gas technology at TNO, emphasises that at first the risks have to be studied as well as alternative methods of production of shale gas in order to keep costs and risks down. “There is a debate on the pros and cons of shale gas. That is all right. TNO thinks that the decision whether or not to proceed to acquiring shale gas should be made well-informed . Therefore, TNO has taken the initiative to have the independent Arguments Factory to accompany the process with various international stakeholders from the public and private sectors such as government, NGOs and research institutions to identify the advantages and disadvantages which are there to indicate.
Additionally, we determined that there is still a lot to know. If it appears that certain aspects are marked insufficiently on the map, the arguments map will be adjusted accordingly. Our goal is to have all arguments neutral on a list. Without indicating how important or weighty an argument is “.
Andreas Hübner (GFZ Potsdam – German Research Centre for Geosciences): “ The EU Member States’ version of the Argument Map is extremely useful for a balanced and transparent discussion. It complements ideally GFZ´s science-based communication and network project Shale Gas Information Platform SHIP and will facilitate informed decision making on local, national and European levels”.
Shale gas is natural gas “enclosed” in clay layers in the subsurface. These layers are also known as ‘shales’. Shale gas is present in a number of EU Member States and offers an opportunity for product and use as a fuel. there has been much discussion about shale gas production and it is even prohibited in some countries (e.g., France). The discussion is not only at national level but is important throughout the EU. Therefore, TNO has taken the initiative to chart all the arguments for and against shale gas in an Argument Map.
Role of TNO
TNO wants to support a robust transition to a sustainable energy supply and, to this end, TNO invests in environmentally-friendly alternatives as well as commits to the optimum and as green as possible use of fossil fuels in this transition to sustainable solutions. This is in line with the Energy Council’s recommendation. So as a relatively green fossil fuel, gas is a key TNO focus.
The European Commission Working Group Ad-hoc Technical Working Group on the
Environmental aspects of unconventional fossil fuels, in particular shale gas.
This is the record of the group on the Commission’s Transparency Register:
If you go to the Members section on that link, you will see that a member from each national authority sits in that group, the Netherlands included. From Ireland, our representative is the Director General of the EPA Laura Burke.
The group has held two meetings so far, the first in January 2012 and the second in October 2012. The minutes from the first meeting are available online. The minutes from the second meeting have still not been uplodaded to the site.
As you will see from the minutes, the general tone is how to manage the risks. No mention of the risks being unmanageable.
Workshop on shale gas in the EU – http://ubuntuone.com/6hPyBshzJHBHZrAaZ45r75
European Commission consults public on unconventional fossil fuels (e.g. shale gas) in Europe
Deadline : March, 20, 2013
From Marian Harkin, MEP
Just a note to let you know the European Commission has launched a public consultation on shale gas and hydraulic fracturing and are accepting submissions from all interested parties. I have attached a copy of a Press Release which I issued today with all the details for your information. Submissions can be made through the link below and I would encourage people to make a submission in order to have their voices heard –
Link for submissions: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/consultations/uff_en.htm
Irish MEP’s in plenary about shale gas – November 2012
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.
visit also: Fracking Free Europe and newsletter 85-12 (88)
Sligo today: Harkins calls for wider debate on fracking – http://www.sligotoday.ie/details.php?id=22489 (11 October 2012)
EU DIRECTIVES AND FRACKING
Report – Accounting rules and action plans on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities related to land use, land use change and forestry – A7-0317/2012 – Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
03-01-2013 02:25 PM EET
REPORT on the proposal for a decision of the European Parliament and of the Council on accounting rules and action plans on greenhouse gas emissions and removals resulting from activities related to land use, land use change and forestry
Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety
Environment: Commission to streamline rules on environmental impact assessments of projects (26 Oct 2012)
The European Commission today outlined new proposals to streamline legislation on environmental impact assessments. The proposals are intended to lighten administrative burdens and make it easier to assess the potential impacts of major projects, without weakening existing environmental safeguards. Current levels of environmental protection will be strengthened, and businesses should enjoy a more harmonised regulatory framework.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “For the past 25 years, the EIA Directive has helped ensure that environmental considerations are integrated into decision-making for projects. This has improved the sustainability of countless projects, while also empowering citizens and ensuring that they are informed and consulted before decisions are made. But loopholes need to be fιxed, in particular concerning the quality of the assessment process, to make sure that projects that will affect the environment are properly assessed.”
The EIA Directive entered into force more than 25 years ago. It has been amended several times, but, following a wide stakeholder consultation, the Commission decided the time has come for a comprehensive overhaul, adapting it to developments in policy and to legal and technical developments. The changes are also forward looking, and emerging challenges that are important to the EU as a whole in areas like resource efficiency, climate change, biodiversity and disaster prevention will now be reflected in the assessment process.
The proposed changes include:
- Adjusting the procedure that determines whether an environmental assessment is needed. This will ensure that only projects with significant environmental impacts are subject to such an assessment. Projects adapted to reduce their impacts and small–scale projects with local impacts should be approved more swiftly at lower cost, leaving authorities more time to focus on assessments of major projects with large-scale environmental impacts.
- Strengthening rules to ensure better decision-making and avoid environmental damage. Ιmpacts from alternative proposals will need more systematic consideration, and competent authorities will need to explain the reasons behind their decisions more clearly.
- Streamlining the various stages of the EIA process, by introducing timeframes and a new mechanism to ease the process when several assessments are required and several authorities involved. These changes will bring more legal certainty and accelerate the process, without compromising the quality of the assessment.
Today’s proposals are the result of a revision process that included wide consultations, and studies on the effectiveness of existing rules and the impact of possible amendments.
The proposed measures will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council. Once the text is agreed, it will become EU law.
The aim of the EIA Directive is to ensure that projects which are likely to have a significant effect on the environment are adequately assessed before they are approved. Hence, before any decision is taken to allow such a project to proceed, the possible impacts it may have on the environment (both from its construction or operation) are identified and assessed. Developers can then adjust projects to minimise negative impacts before they actually occur, or the competent authorities can incorporate measures to avoid, reduce or compensate environmental impacts into the project approval.
The Directive also ensures early public participation in the environmental decision-making procedures. In particular, members of the public concerned must be given the possibility to comment while all options are still open to the competent authority, i.e. before a final decision is taken on the request for development. When approving a project, the competent authority is required to inform the public, including on the measures envisaged to avoid, reduce or compensate environmental impacts.
For more information:
THREE EU REPORTS IN SEPT 2012
Comments on the reports: >EU report comment
EU fracking report – http://ubuntuone.com/1x6LlUk0niY5pez6iE2KDd (Sept 2012)
Unconventional Gas – http://ubuntuone.com/6cC0ruuxYPwi4sfL05jSAC (Sept 2012)
Climate impact – http://ubuntuone.com/1NRjEjH9naql7Jm4uu6zJN (Sept 2012)
Draft report on environmental impacts of shale gas – http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//NONSGML+COMPARL+PE-483.605+01+DOC+PDF+V0//EN&language=EN Scroll up for released final report
The following reports will be discussed in due course: (Oct. 2012)
Environmental impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction activities
Industrial, energy and other aspects of shale gas and oil – http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?reference=2011/2309%28INI%29
GEOLOGICAL STORAGE OF CARBON DIOXIDE
Directive 2009/31/EC geological storage of carbon dioxice (23 April 2009) l_14020090605en01140135
IMPACTS OF SHALE GAS
Shale gas: report highlights potential environmental risks
The risk of contamination of ground and surface waters and leakage of methane emissions remain key concerns associated with shale gas projects, according to a recent assessment. This is particularly the case if monitoring and regulatory systems are not rigorously enforced. In addition, investment in shale gas could divert resources needed to develop a low-carbon economy, suggest the report’s authors.
DG – shale gas report highlights potential environmental risks pdf (9 February 2012)
Comment by ENDS- Europe – http://www.endseurope.com/
The report http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201107/20110715ATT24183/20110715ATT24183EN.pdf is the first official document from Europe, which over 90 pages, details the extent and gravity of shale gas exploitation.
Polish arguments can be summarised as: nuclear is dangerous, Fukushima happened but it not a reason to stop. It seems this report was published on the 8th of July but smothered as Europe was under Polish presidency, France had just suspended 3 licenses and a host of events were happening at the same time. Meanwhile the rapport covers:
“This study discusses the possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the environment and on human health. Quantitative data and qualitative impacts are taken from US experience since shale gas extraction in Europe still is in its infancy, while the USA have more than 40 years of experience already having drilled more than 50,000 wells. Greenhouse gas emissions are also assessed based on a critical review of existing literature and own calculations. European legislation is reviewed with respect to hydraulic fracturing activities and recommendations for further work are given. The potential gas resources and future availability of shale gas is discussed in face of the present conventional gas supply and its probable future development.”
Its conclusion is damning: it is not worth it.
Meanwhile Sandrine Belier ( MP, Europe Ecologie) is committing herself to defend a European moratorium on shale gas extraction and push for regulation banning the technology. She can be contacted on: email@example.comEuropean report executive summary:
- There is no comprehensive directive providing for a European mining law. A publicly available, comprehensive and detailed analysis of the European regulatory framework concerning shale gas and tight oil extraction is not available and should be developed.
- The current EU regulatory framework concerning hydraulic fracturing, which is the core element in shale gas and tight oil extraction, has a number of gaps. Most importantly, the threshold for Environmental Impact Assessments to be carried out on hydraulic fracturing activities in hydrocarbon extraction is set far above any potential industrial activities of this kind, and thus should be lowered substantially.
- The coverage of the water framework Directive should be re-assessed with special focus on fracturing activities and their possible impacts on surface water.
- In the framework of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), a thorough cost/benefit analysis could be a tool to assess the overall benefits for society and its citizens. A harmonized approach to be applied throughout EU27 should be developed, based on which responsible authorities can perform their LCA assessments and discuss them with the public.
- It should be assessed whether the use of toxic chemicals for injection should be banned in general. At least, all chemicals to be used should be disclosed publicly, the number of allowed chemicals should be restricted and its use should be monitored. Statistics about the injected quantities and number of projects should be collected at European level.
- Regional authorities should be strengthened to take decisions on the permission of projects which involve hydraulic fracturing. Public participation and LCA assessments should be mandatory in finding these decisions.
- Where project permits are granted, the monitoring of surface water flows and air emissions should be mandatory.
- Statistics on accidents and complaints should be collected and analysed at European level. Where projects are permitted, an independent authority should collect and review complaints.
- Because of the complex nature of possible impacts and risks to the environment and to human health of hydraulic fracturing consideration should be given to developing a new directive at European level regulating all issues in this area comprehensively.
- An unavoidable impact of shale gas and tight oil extraction is a high land occupation due to drilling pads, parking and manouvering areas for trucks, equipment, gas processing and transporting facilities as well as access roads. Major possible impacts are air emissions of pollutants, groundwater contamination due to uncontrolled gas or fluid flows due to blowouts or spills, leaking fracturing fluid, and uncontrolled waste water discharge.
- Fracturing fluids contain hazardous substances, and flow-back in addition contains heavy metals and radioactive materials from the deposit. Experience from the USA shows that many accidents happen, which can be harmful to the environment and to human health.
- The recorded violations of legal requirements amount to about 1-2 percent of all drilling permits. Many of these accidents are due to improper handling or leaking equipment.
- Furthermore, groundwater contamination by methane, in extreme cases leading to explosion of residential buildings, and potassium chloride leading to salinization of drinking water is reported in the vicinity of gas wells. The impacts add up as shale formations are developed with a high well density of up to six well pads per km².
- Fugitive Methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing processes can have a huge impact on the greenhouse gas balance. Existing assessments give a range of 18 to 23 g CO2- equivalent per MJ from the development and production of unconventional natural gas. The emissions due to methane intrusion of aquifers are not yet assessed. However, project specific emissions might vary up to a factor of ten, depending on the methane production of the well.
- Depending on several factors, greenhouse gas emissions of shale gas relative to its energy content are as low as those of conventional gas transported over long distances or as high as those of hard coal over the entire life cycle from extraction to combustion.
- EU Regulatory Framework
- The purpose of a mining law is to provide a legal framework for mining activities in general.
- The aim is to facilitate a prosperous industry sector, a secure energy supply and to secure
- sufficient protection for health, safety and the environment. At EU level, there is no comprehensive mining framework.
- However, four Directives specifically designed for mining do exist. Additionally, there is a plenitude of non-mining-specific Directives and Regulations affecting the extractive industry. Focussing on regulatory acts concerning the environment and human health, the 36 most relevant Directives from the following fields of legislation were identified: water, protection of environment, safety at work, radiation protection, waste, chemicals and associated accidents.
- Due to the multitude of relevant legislation from various fields, the specific risks of hydraulic fracturing are not sufficiently covered. Nine major gaps were identified: 1. lack of a mining framework Directive, 2. insufficient threshold in the Environmental ImpacT, Assessment (EIA) Directive for natural gas extraction, 3. declaration of hazardous materials not mandatory, 4. approval of chemicals remaining in the ground not required, 5. no Best Available Technique Reference (BREF) on hydraulic fracturing, 6. The waste water treatment requirements are insufficiently defined, and the capacities of water processing facilities are probably insufficient if underground injection and disposal is to be banned, 7. insufficient public participation in decision-making at regional level, 8. effectiveness of water framework directive insufficient, and 9. LCA not mandatory.
Availability of shale gas resources and role in a low-carbon economy
- The potential of unconventional gas availability must be seen in the context of conventional gas production:
o European gas production has been in steep decline for several years and is expected to decline by another 30 per cent or more until 2035;
o European demand is expected to rise further until 2035;
o Imports of natural gas will unavoidably rise further if these trends become reality;
o It is by no means guaranteed that required additional imports in the order of 100 billion m³ per year or more can be realised.
o The resources for unconventional gas in Europe are too small to have any substantial influence on these trends. This holds even more as the typical production profiles will allow extracting only a certain share of these resources. In addition, greenhouse gas emissions from unconventional gas supply are significantly higher than from conventional gas supply.
o Environmental obligations will also increase project costs and delay their development. This will reduce the potential impact further.
o It is very likely that investments in shale gas projects – if at all – might have a short-living impact on gas supply which could be counterproductive , as it would provide the impression of an ensured gas supply at a time when the signal to consumers should be to reduce this dependency by savings, efficiency measures and substitution.
- At a time when sustainability is key to future operations it can be questioned whether the injection of toxic chemicals in the underground should be allowed, or whether it should be banned as such a practice would restrict or exclude any later use of the contaminated layer (e.g. for geothermal purposes) and as long-term effects are not investigated. In an active shale gas extraction area, about 0.1-0.5 litres of chemicals are injected per square metre.
- This holds even more as the potential shale gas plays are too small to have a substantial impact on the European gas supply situation. The present privileges of oil and gas exploration and extraction should be reassessed in view of the fact that the environmental risks and burdens are not compensated for by a corresponding potential benefit as the specific gas production is very low.”
Report by Ends Europe: EC finally agrees on GHG value for oil sands 4 October 2011)
PISM Report_Shale Gas Under Political Scrutiny
Shale gas: opportunity or threat to the environment?
Environment − 06-03-2012 – 15:56
What the European Parliament is doing
As more drilling for shale gas takes place in Europe, people have become more concerned about its possible effects. After the European Commission ruled out creating EU legislation on it last year, the Parliament decided to launch its own investigation. The EP’s industry committee and environmental committee are both producing their own report on the situation. This week the environment committee invited experts to evaluate the risks shale gas extraction poses to the environment.
REGULATIONS – ENVIRONMENT
Commissioner Oetginger: Eu rules out shale gas regulation- 2011_11_08_EC STUDY_shale gas_FINAL REPORT
Final report on unconventional gas in Europe
Published by DG Energy on licensing and permitting procedures for shale gas conducted on request of DG ENER by the law firm Philippe & Partners
On 27 January 2012 the Commission published a study on the licensing and permitting procedures for shale gas project. Based on a sample of four Member States (France, Germany, Poland and Sweden) the study concludes that there are no significant gaps in coverage in the current EU legislative framework, at least for regulating the current level of shale gas activities.
As regards possible areas for improvement of national regulatory frameworks the study especially considers it as problematic that currently public participation in the authorisation process for exploration projects is often rather limited. It also stresses that the application of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive should not be linked to gas production thresholds alone and it emphasises that regulations should provide legal certainty for investors.
Commissioner Oettinger report: http://ec.europa.eu/energy/studies/doc/2012_unconventional_gas_in_europe.pdf
Oettinger calls for new renewable targets – http://www.europeanvoice.com/article/2012/october/oettinger-calls-for-new-renewables-target/75579.aspx
Sounds like good news until you read on…
“The Energy Partnership launched today will represent the combined interests of the renewable and gas sectors. Gas is a natural complement to renewable energy because it is a flexible source of power that can be turned up during periods of no wind or sun. The partnership, which so far consists of Alpine Energie, Dong Energy, First Solar, GE and Shell, is calling for better infrastructure to connect renewable installations to gas plants.”
Note by Oettinger commission – http://ubuntuone.com/4e3TJ6KjIbukvEEQ4HZeL2
(2 February 2012)
More energy studies: 27-01-2012
International Energy Agency to set Shale Rules – http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/international-energy-agency-to-set-shale-rules-4599?utm_source=Natural (Jan 2012)
BRUSSELS—There is no need for new legislation to regulate shale gas exploration in the European Union, according to a study published Friday that proposed the bloc adopt a low profile on the controversial issue.
The study, carried out by a consultant and authorized by the European Commission, the EU’s executive body, says that existing legislation on exploration and production of fossil fuels, chiefly designed to guarantee safety and to protect the environment, can apply to both conventional and unconventional gas.
Various Comments on Fracking Matters Newsletter 10-12 (45)
The report from WSJ. seems to be missing a lot of info . Read Reuters
AARHUS CONVENTION – ratified by Ireland on 20th June 2012 came into foce 18 Sept. 2012
The full text of the Kiev Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters in the appropriate language (pdf format):
Water challenges for a changing world, EU recommendations – http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:C:2011:317:0001:0003:EN:PDF(27 October 2011)
EU AND WATER
EU not ready for water footprint labels – report
EC water protection plan
A blueprint to safeguard Europe’s water due in 2012 will primarily focus on how to better integrate water in other policy areas such as the common agricultural policy (CAP) and cohesion funding, the EU environment commissioner has said.
Proposals to include radon in drinking water rules (Council of the European Union) –
st13648-re03.en11 proposals to include radon in drinking water rules
EU – REPORT on the implementation of EU water legislation, ahead of a necessary overall approach to European water challenges – getDoc (6th June 2012)
EU AND LANDSCAPE FRAGMENTATION
CONFERENCE IN OCTOBER 2011
EU commisioner: no need for shale ban – http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/eu-commissioner-no-need-for-eu-shale-ban-2892 (7 October 2011)
European Shale Gas Potential – http://ubuntuone.com/4KhsJ4rS8SYoYhCQLYaA5K
Cuadrilla – http://ubuntuone.com/5yJpH0E9ZLPxW22azmmuS4
Shale Gaz exploitation, example of south east France – http://ubuntuone.com/0OWvTBRSD2ZY4ETkS1P5iz
Towards Future Technological Developments of Shale Gas – http://ubuntuone.com/65ytPQlPuYEM7JcBOmW93y
EU commission: State of play of actions taken – http://ubuntuone.com/4jvduNA4ErtJt2MxsFD0bI
CONFERENCE IN BERLIN 24 & 25 OCTOBER 2011
The legal and regulatory framework for shale gas exploration and shale gas exploitation activities in the EU – shale_gas_regulatory_framework_c_musialski
Study on Interoperability – Gas quality Harmonisation – Cost Benefit Analysis
Conclusions – 00_conclusions
IRISH POLITICIANS IN EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
“Winning Community Acceptance of Energy Infrastructure Biggest Challenge for European Energy Policy” – Minister Rabbitte.
(24 November 2011)
Europe’s ability to meet the 2050 climate and energy targets depend on the policies and investment decisions of the next 5-10 years http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/frack-or-not-to-frack?utm_source=Natural
Gas Europe Newsletter
Final report on unconventional gas in Europe
Published by DG Energy on licensing and permitting procedures for shale gas conducted on request of DG ENER by the law firm Philippe & Partners