Opposition to Fracking Mounts in Europe

Search form

Opposition to Fracking Mounts in Europe

Opposition to Fracking Mounts in Europe
Thu, 9/20/2012 - by Eco Watch

The global grassroots movement to protect public health and the environment from the risks associated with hydraulic fracturing intensified this week in Brussels where citizens came together for an action as part of the Global Frackdown.

As the European Parliament votes on two reports on the environmental and energy impacts of shale, Food & Water Europe, together with Friends of the Earth and The Greens—European Free Alliance, called on the oil and gas industry to “Stop the Propaganda” and on the European Parliament to recognize that the potential of shale gas has been hyped, while the risks and impacts of shale gas have been downplayed.

“The dubious benefits and poor environmental record of shale gas development in the U.S. serve as a cautionary tale for Europe,” said Food and Water Watch’s executive director Wenonah Hauter. “It is worrying that European policymakers have bought into the myth, propagated by the gas industry, that shale gas can serve as a viable bridge to a low carbon future.”

The first coordinated international day of action against fracking on Sept. 22—Global Frackdown—will unite activists on five continents through more than 100 events to call for a ban on fracking in their communities, and to advocate for the development of clean, sustainable energy solutions. Initiated by Food & Water Watch, more than 150 consumer, environmental and public health organizations worldwide including No Fracking Ireland, Friends of the Earth UK, STOPHF of the Czech Republic, Ecologistas en Accion from Spain, numerous anti-fracking associations across France, 350.org and many more are expected to participate in the Global Frackdown.

Worldwide, opposition to drilling and fracking has escalated dramatically over the last year, and the oil and gas industry has intensified its public relations campaign to obscure the dangers of fracking from the public. Earlier this year, the American Petroleum Institute launched its Vote 4 Energy campaign, an astroturf effort to promote drilling and fracking during the 2012 election. A similar campaign is underway in the European Union, where the fossil fuel lobby has been presenting natural gas, including unconventional gas extraction, as a cheap “no regrets option” and painting renewable energy sources as unaffordable. Seeking support from the E.U. for shale gas is an integral part of oil and has companies to turn natural gas into a destination fuel in Europe.

To date, more than 270 municipalities in the U.S. have taken action against fracking; Vermont has banned its use altogether. So have France and Bulgaria. There is a moratorium on fracking in the Czech Republic, Romania, the German state of North Rhine Westphalia, New Jersey and New York. This week, it was also announced that the oil and gas company OMV would also halt drilling in Austria, due to the protests of local communities.

More than 140 events are planned for the Global Frackdown, and each will challenge local decision makers to oppose fracking. Major actions include a rally on the steps of the European Parliament; demonstrations in front of Parliament buildings in South Africa, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic; marches in cities in Argentina; grassroots activities in Paris and the south of France; screenings of "Gasland" in Spain; a "Dash for gas" day of action at the Lib Dem party conference; flyering at the airport of Knock in Ireland; a street theater action in Chicago promoting a statewide fracking ban, and the list goes on.

An increasingly controversial form of energy extraction, fracking involves blasting millions of gallons of water mixed with carcinogenic chemicals underground to release natural gas and oil from tight rock formations. Drilling and fracking have been linked to water contamination and climate change, and the process has been responsible for industrializing rural areas, destroying property values and undermining local economies.

Article Tabs

Sleeping outside for an iPhone is O.K., but do it in furtherance of democratic expression and you’re in trouble, as protesters discovered during the past several weeks at Parliament Square.

Green is no longer unified, if it ever really was – as Bright Green, Lite Green, Deep Green and Dark Green tribes form around divergent environmental worldviews, theories of change, and ranges of tactics.

Do we or do we not as Americans have the right to know what we are eating? Here are initiatives from Hawaii to Colorado and from Humboldt to Josephine Counties to take back our food supply.

In order to help fund their courts, judges may be threatening people with imprisonment for their debts – and more than a third of U.S. states now allow people with debts to be jailed.

The cohesion between pop culture and politics in the 1960s made it easier to access politically charged art and music – something our generation is still searching for today.

Posted 4 days 6 hours ago

Klein's starting point is valuable for the pro-planet movement, showing the walls that are built by the system – and ourselves – to stop climate action.

Posted 2 days 5 hours ago

Heavy industry spending resembles the last-minute infusions of cash for TV ads, mailings, and staff that helped narrowly defeat campaigns for mandatory GMO labeling in California and Washington.

Posted 4 days 6 hours ago

“There are many of us here who are homeless because when we came back from fighting, we couldn’t get a job, we had mental problems and there was no assistance for us anywhere."

Posted 2 days 5 hours ago

It’s a fairly absurd situation and I’d like to document exactly what happened.

Posted 4 days 6 hours ago

With a click of a button, over 6,000 Detroit properties were purchased Tuesday for just over $500 apiece – surprising local government, which had scripted a much different ending.

If a corporation’s profits or operations will be restricted by a country’s laws or the decisions of its courts, under the TPP it will be able to sue.

“There are many of us here who are homeless because when we came back from fighting, we couldn’t get a job, we had mental problems and there was no assistance for us anywhere."

Coke and Pepsi are spending millions of dollars to keep taxes from going up on their sugared products. It's all thanks to the infamous Citizens United decision. Watch Robert Reich break it down.

Outside spending "giving wealthy spenders more power than ever to buy influence over our political process and elected officials," says report.

Sign Up