Thursday, October 10, 2013

Europeans skeptical on fracking

The New York Times ran this story today, headlined "As Drilling Practice Takes Off in the U.S., Europe Proves Hesitant."  Here's an excerpt from Steven Erlanger's story:
France and Bulgaria have already banned it, and in Britain the government’s attempts to promote it have led to heated demonstrations in the countryside. It is complicating Germany’s attempts to wean itself from fossil fuels and forcing Russia to recalibrate the energy-export strategy that sustains its economy.
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Now the temptation to follow the United States in extracting shale gas from rock on a large scale is presenting Europe with contentious trade-offs that could affect the Continent’s economic competitiveness, test its commitment to curbing climate change and determine its place in a 21st-century version of the Great Game. 
The early signs are that densely populated Europe, with citizens generally more sensitive to environmental concerns and more willing to tolerate high energy costs, is unlikely to embrace the technique as the Americans have.
The story features a photo of British designer Vivienne Westwood holding a sign that says, "Lock the Gate, 82% Say No," near a drilling site in Balcombe, West Sussex, England.  Details of France's ban on fracking are in this story.

The Times also reported today on a vote by European Union lawmakers to tighten rules on fracking.  While the details of the rules have not been finalized, they would "to force energy companies to carry out in-depth environmental audits" before they are permitted to use fracking to recover natural gas from shale rock.

Other stories covering the fracking controversy in Britain include this August column by Roger Cohen. He notes that British prime minister David Cameron is a but supporter, but many big-name Brits are opposed:
Bianca Jagger has joined the battle against the dash for gas. A Green M. P. has been arrested. So has Natalie Hynde, daughter of the rockers Ray Davies of the Kinks and Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders. 
Here is "With Controls, Britain Allows Hydraulic Fracturing to Explore for Gas from Dec., 13, 2012.  It features a photo of a drilling site near Blackpool, Lancashire.  

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