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Shale Gas Bulletin Ireland – . Majority of MEPs support fracking moratorium in symbolic vote

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1. Majority of MEPs support fracking moratorium in symbolic vote

For the first time, a majority of MEPs (338 to 319) has voted in favour of an immediate moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in Europe in view of its “risks and negative consequences for the climate, the environment, and public health.” The MEPs voted in support of Amendment 1 to the Energy Security Strategy report.

However, as the final report as a whole was not adopted, the moratorium on “any new operations involving the exploration or extraction of unconventional fuels within the EU until this is proven to be safe for the environment, citizens, and workers” will not take effect.

While some pro-fracking groups in the European Parliament voted against the amendment and the report as a whole, the European United Left – Nordic Green Left group (GUE/NGL), which voted for the fracking moratorium, opposed the final report on the grounds that it “underlined the importance of nuclear energy” and “moves in the same direction as neoliberal policies.”

The votes of Irish MEPs on the fracking moratorium amendment were as follows:

  • For: Boylan (SF), Carthy (SF), Flanagan (Ind), Harkin (Ind), Ni Riada (SF)
  • Against: Childers (Ind), Clune (FG), Hayes (FG), McGuinness (FG), Kelly (FG)
  • Absent: Crowley (FF)
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Plenary vote in EP on fracking moratorium amendment – June 10

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Today, I learnt that the social-democrats in the European Parliament (the second-largest group) – together with the Greens, leftwing GUE and some Italian EFDD members – will table a fracking moratorium amendment. To be added to a report on EU Energy Security (see my previous emails about the Saudargas report).
I think that there is a slim chance (but there is a chance!!) that we might be able to get a tight majority of MEPs to vote in favour of this. This would send a very strong message to the Commission, when it comes to maybe strengthening fracking rules in Europe … which would further delay and complicate shale gas development in Europe.
This is the text of the amendment, pushed by Czech S&D MEP Miroslav Poche:
  • Considers that the use of hydraulic fracturing in the Union entails risks and negative consequences for the climate, environment and public health, and threatens achievement of the EU’s long-term decarbonisation goal. Furthermore due to the limited potential of unconventional fuels to help meet the EU’s future energy demand, coupled with high investment and exploitation costs, considers that hydraulic fracturing is not a promising technology. Therefore urges the Member States not to authorise any new exploration or extraction operations of unconventional fuels within the EU until it is proven safe for the environment, citizens and workers;
As always, we will need to convince some centre-right EPP MEPs and some ALDE MEPs to vote in favour of this amendment. And make sure that centre-left S&D MEPs follow their group.
I realise that everybody is very busy … but we do not get a lot of opportunities like this. So, it is worth an effort. Please ask your MEPs to support this amendment.
There will be a roll call vote. So, whatever the outcome, we will know how each MEP in the new-ish Parliament thinks about fracking.

European Parliament report on energy security – moratorium amendment on fracking

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eu REPORTOn May 7, the Industry Committee in the European Parliament is scheduled to vote on the 800 amendments that were submitted to the initial draft report by the rapporteur, the Lithuanian EPP MEP Saudargas. All texts available here.

Good news. Several S&D MEPs and a Green MEP submitted amendments for a moratorium on fracking (366 & 415, and 394). The first two have the same text that got the support of more than one third of MEPs, when the Parliament voted in November 2012 on a reports about the environmental impacts of shale gas.
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