Bulgarian government bans hydraulic fracturing

The Sofia Echo.

“Bulgaria’s Cabinet decided on January 17 to amend the licence awarded to US oil firm Chevron, explicitly banning the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technology in the exploration of potential shale gas reserves in the country’s northeast.

The Cabinet awarded the exploration permit for the Novi Pazar area in June 2010, but did not specify at that time what technology the company could use. The January 17 decision now limits Chevron to drilling conventional wells only.”

 

“On January 14, several thousand people gathered at protest rallies in Bulgaria’s largest cities and towns to protest against shale gas extraction and the use of fracking. Apart from Sofia, there were protests in Plovdiv, Varna, Veliko Turnovo, Shoumen, Pleven, Bourgas, Kazanluk, Dobrich, Smolyan, Rousse and Blagoevgrad, while according to Capital Daily, Bulgarians living in London and Copenhagen also held protests.

Protesters called for Parliament to put a moratorium on exploration and extraction of shale gas and for a legislative ban on fracking.

Lawmakers obliged on January 18, passing an indefinite ban on highly-pressurised hydraulic fracturing (at more than 20 atmospheres) with a vote of 166 in favour and only six against, all of them from [the] right-wing Blue Coalition.”

“But even [the] co-leader of the Blue Coalition, Martin Dimitrov, backed the moratorium, saying that he was “opposed to experiments done on Bulgaria. The time will come when the technology is safe or its risks are clarified.”

Other supporters of the ban, including former environment minister Djevdet Chakurov of the predominantly ethnic Turk Movement for Rights and Freedoms and former economy minister, socialist Roumen Ovcharov, said that Bulgaria was better off waiting for other countries to conclude their environmental risk assessments before allowing shale gas exploration to proceed.”

 

 

[T]he area covered by Chevron’s licence has some of Bulgaria’s most fertile land and has long been described as the country’s “bread basket”.

 

 

Fermanagh District Council urges Minister Foster to move against fracking

Council urges Minister Foster to move against fracking – The Fermanagh Herald.

“Fermanagh District Council has passed a motion to oppose fracking in the county.
Erne West councillor Brendan Gallagher said fracking had the potential to scar the landscape of Fermanagh and said the environmental health factors outweighed the economic benefits.”

“Councillor Gallagher said that while it had been mooted that 700 jobs could be created from fracking that equated to 10 jobs a year for Fermanagh and even at that, there were no guarantees that they would be sourced locally.
He highlighted Fermanagh’s dependence on its local agricultural industry and tourism.
He also claimed there were concerns that water contamination that could impact on health, from dizziness to brain damage or cancer. He said there was also the potential impact of noise and air pollution and the increase of traffic on the road.”

“Independent councillor Bernice Swift said she supported the motion and reminded the council that there had been no community consent for fracking so far and that the community must be listened to.”

 

Ban on fracking agreed by Clare County Council

Total ban on fracking agreed by county council · TheJournal.ie.

“COUNCILLORS IN CLARE have agreed in principle a total ban on ‘fracking’ to extract shale gas from underground rock formations in the region.

The council voted to send an official letter to the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte calling for an outright national ban on fracking.

There was also an agreement to amend the Clare development plan, a legally binding document, to forbid the controversial practice.This will now go forward for public consultation.Green Party councillor Brian Meaney, who put forward the motion to amend the development plan, told TheJournal.ie that the change was ‘the most powerful method available to us, to put into that legal contract a stipulation that we don’t want to see any fracking.'”

“Two companies have been licensed to carry out initial studies of the possible viability of fracking in parts of Cavan, Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo; while Enegi Oil is planning technical studies in the Clare Basin. Cllr Meaney said this area covered “most of west Clare”.

Cllr Meaney said there was a serious “lack of regulation” of fracking at the national and European levels. He said it had the potential to ’cause huge environmental problems, in a country where our main export is food.'”

 

Ohio earthquake was not a natural event

Ohio earthquake was not a natural event, expert says – chicagotribune.com.

“A 4.0 magnitude earthquake in Ohio on New Year’s Eve did not occur naturally and may have been caused by high-pressure liquid injection related to oil and gas exploration and production, an expert hired by the state of Ohio said on Tuesday.

Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources on Sunday suspended operations at five deep well sites in Youngstown, Ohio, where the injection of water was taking place, while they evaluate seismological data from a rare quake in the area.

The wells are about 9,000 feet deep and are used to dispose of water from oil and gas wells. The process is related to fracking, the controversial injection of chemical-laced water and sand into rock to release oil and gas. Critics say that the high pressure injection of the liquid causes seismic activity.

Won-Young Kim, a research professor of Seismology Geology and Tectonophysics at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday that circumstantial evidence suggests a link between the earthquake and the high-pressure well activity.

“We know the depth (of the quake on Saturday) is two miles and that is different from a natural earthquake,” said Kim, who is advising the state of Ohio.”

 

 

BBC News – MLAs back motion to halt fracking

BBC News – MLAs back motion to halt fracking.

“MLAs have called for a stop to the practice of gas exploration known as fracking.

They backed a call for a moratorium on onshore and offshore exploration and the withdrawal of licences by 49 votes to 30.”

 

Here is a short video of UTV’s coverage of the day’s events:

 

With regard to Mrs Foster’s comments, readers are referred to the wording of the licence (available on our Documents page).  The Work Programme contained within the licence states that Tamboran will,

“Drill exploration well to test Benbulben and Bundoran Shale Formations gas shale play including coring, fracturing and testing programme.”

Readers may also be interested to note that the licence granted is to

“search and bore for and get petroleum”

(petroleum in this sense including gas) and that under the Petroleum Production Regulations, also available on the Documents page, the licensee effectively has the option to extend the licence into a production phase lasting for over twenty years.

 

Fracking vote delayed for the Delaware River basin

Fracking vote delayed | The News Journal | delawareonline.com.

The Delaware, on the Atlantic coast of the United States, is one of America’s largest and most important rivers, providing water to millions. Issues such as conservation, flood mitigation and development are decided by the Delaware River Basin Commission, which is made up of the four governors of Delaware, Pennyslvania, New Jersey and New York together with a representative of the US government (currently a Brigadier General from the Army Corps of Engineers).

A recent proposal to use hydraulic fracturing to extract shale gas from the river basin was to be voted on by the Commission this Monday, 21st November. However, following widespread concern, the Commission has cancelled its meeting, indicating that at least three of its five members are not happy with the prospect of fracking in this vital region. This is important news, not only for the residents of the four states, but for all those worldwide who have reservations about the process. There are serious doubts about the safety of hydraulic fracturing for human and animal health, the purity of drinking water and the preservation of precious landscapes. Now even state governors and brigadier generals are coming to share those concerns. Will our elected representatives take the issue equally seriously?

 

 

“Non” to shale gas in France

France withdraws shale gas permits: minister – FRANCE 24.

Earlier this year, the two houses of the  French parliament voted to ban hydraulic fracturing throughout France.   As Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, said,

“We have seen the results in the U.S. There are risks for the water tables and these are risks we don’t want to take.”

Companies which had been granted exploration permits were given the opportunity to demonstrate how they could extract shale gas without using this method. They have been unable to do so, and so their permits have been withdrawn.

Rabbitte’s review

Rabbitte orders ‘fracking’ study – The Irish Times – Wed, Oct 05, 2011.

Important news from the Republic, where the Minister for Energy and Natural Resources has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to carry out a study of the various impacts of hydraulic fracturing before his government go any further in granting permits.  As he says,

“At present there is currently very little European experience of the process. For this reason I have asked the EPA to examine the area and advise me and [my] colleagues in Government on the environmental implications of fracking.”

This seems a sensible approach, and one which it might be wise for our own representatives to adopt.  What do you think?