Alessandro Torello, of the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers, said the MEPs’ rules would create a costly and cumbersome regulatory process that would make industry think twice about exploration.
“The text adopted today would require undertaking long and complex environmental studies at a very early stage in the exploration phase, undermining – without bringing additional environmental benefits – the efforts to develop domestic oil and gas opportunities, such as gas from shale,” he said.
“This would erode EU attempts to encourage future economic growth and create new jobs while simultaneously depriving policy makers of one key tool they could use to reduce Europe’s dependence on energy imports.”
François Hollande, France’s Socialist president, has banned fracking his country. The MEPs’ vote was welcomed by Greens and Socialists.
“While this would not prevent permits from being granted, it will help prevent risky shale gas projects being bulldozed through in spite of environmental concerns,” said Sandrine Bélier, a French Green MEP.
Later this year, the European Commission is expected to propose tough regulations for fracking amid fears in Brussels that cheap shale gas could wipe out heavily subsidised and less efficient renewable energies such as wind farms.
Jos Delbeke, the director-general of the commission’s “climate action” department, hinted that the EU would use the regulations to defend renewable energy against cheaper shale gas.
“A minus scenario is that shale gas then drives out renewables,” he said, last week. “If ever shale would become as cheap as in the US, we really would have a problem. We are strong defenders of renewables. It is very important we keep investing in renewable technologies.”
Actually, let’s just hang them all shall we?