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UPDATE: One-third of Members of European Parliament vote against fracking

Our friends in Europe say no to fracking in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, October 2012.

Our friends in Europe say no to fracking in front of the European Parliament in Brussels, October 2012.

On November 21, 262 Members of the European Parliament – more than one-third of MEPs – voted in support of a moratorium on fracking in Europe.

Food & Water Europe comments, “While it is disappointing that a majority of the Parliament did not agree that an appropriate response to the documented risks of fracking is a moratorium, the reports and moratorium vote were only the first skirmish in the long-term battle to permanently ban fracking from Europe. Food & Water Europe – together with civil society groups across Europe – will continue to work with MEPs to increase awareness of the risks and negative impacts associated with large-scale unconventional gas activities.”

While MEPs express concern about fracking, the Canadian embassy and corporate interests have actively been promoting this controversial practise in Europe.

This past January, The Tyee.ca reported, “Former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach has been giving tips to the Ukrainian government on how to sell controversial shale gas development to a skeptical public… Development (there) has apparently been stymied to date by low foreign investment, complex regulations and environmental concerns. …Stelmach is not alone in promoting either the shale gas industry or championing Canada’s poor energy regulations abroad. George Eynon, a member of Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board made presentations on shale gas regulation in Warsaw Poland in 2010 and Paris 2011. …Members of the Canadian Embassy in Poland have also promoted shale gas development. In addition Alex Ferguson, former commissioner of the BC’s Oil and Gas Commission also offered advice on unconventional shale gas production to European audiences. …Ferguson is now a senior advisor to Apache Canada. Talisman and EnCana, two major shale gas developers, have extensive unconventional gas interests in Europe.”

The Council of Canadians has worked to counter these messages.

This past March, trade campaigner Stuart Trew and water campaigner Emma Lui met with the Irish Minister of State for Energy & Natural Resources and Environment Fergus O’Dowd in Toronto to raise concerns with him about fracking. They raised our concerns about the impacts of fracking on water and the climate and noted the limits that could be placed on any future environmental legislation as a result of an investor-state provision in the Canada-European Union free trade agreement.

The Food & Water Europe media release is at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/meps-call-for-stricter-environmental-standards-for-fracking-in-europe-but-fall-short-of-endorsing-a-moratorium/. The Tyee article noting the Harper’s promotion of fracking in Poland can be read at http://thetyee.ca/Blogs/TheHook/Environment/2012/01/30/shale-gas-ukraine-stelmach/. The campaign blog noting the meeting with the Irish minister is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=13991.