NO to shale gas extraction (fracking) in Europe
Resolution adopted during the Spring 2012 Green Council in Copenhagen.
Get the full resolution in pdf here.
Hydraulic fracturing is a process of injecting chemicals, water and sand at extremely high pressure into gas wells in order to fracture rocks and release methane gas, The process takes place over two to five days, requires an average of 5.5 million gallons of fluid and may be repeated multiple times on the same well over the course of the potential 25 to 40 year lifetime. Many of these chemicals are toxic and have known adverse health effects, which may be apparent only in the long term1. Recently, in many EU countries, shale gas extraction became a very hot topic as mining companies are searching for new locations to apply hydraulic fracturing2 (or ‘fracking’) to obtain gas from the ground. In some countries these activities have been prohibited by national authorities (France, Bulgaria), but in some others, mining companies are receiving permits to continue with prospecting and even commercial mining. In these countries, reaction from local environmental activists and NGOs is matching that from member parties of the European Green Party. Therefore a reaction and set of recommendations for coordinated EGP activities are urgently needed; to support measures on the EU, national, regional and local levels.
Although the first hydraulic fracturing was performed in 1947, the development of new technology, including horizontal directional drilling, multi stage fracturing and slick water, has resulted in an intensive process of fracking characterized by high frack fluid volume and multi-well pads with cluster drilling. The European Green Party recognizes that gas pads, which incorporated all of these characteristics, were first developed in 2007. In some countries they have already succeeded in getting permits for exploration, in others this form of extraction has been banned. For example, in Poland major pressure from mining companies is now being applied. In the Czech Republic, four major areas are identified for possible extraction and several permits for prospecting were awarded. However, this has created a strong reaction from NGOs and there now exists a national coalition against fracking in the Czech Republic.
The European parliament has ordered a study on “Impacts of shale gas and shale oil extraction on the environment and on human health“, to provide an indication of gaps existing in the regulation of hydraulic fracturing and make recommendations on what additional regulation is required.
European Greens say NO to shale gas extraction in Europe
As hydraulic fracturing cannot be proven to be safe, is not compatible with the pressing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is not compatible with our attempts to develop renewable energy, We European Greens are saying a firm NO to any further development of shale gas extraction in Europe
We are firmly of the mindset that Europe should put a halt on all unconventional hydraulic fracturing operations and restrain from any future development of hydraulic fracturing in order to protect our environment, drinking water and the health of European citizens. Given the power of multinational oil and gas firms and their ability to apply pressure on national and regional governments, and, given the fact that Europe’s water is a shared resource, we strongly believe that the European Institutions must take an active role in regulating this industry.
European Greens are urging the European parliament to take steps to immediately implement EU wide regulation of the shale gas extraction (and the controversial hydraulic fracking technology) and provide member states with assistance in their efforts to regulate or ban the procedure.