Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is the controversial method used to extract natural gas from the earth. The practice had been banned in many European nations due to concerns of environmental damage. However in recent years those bans have begun to be lifted, despite protest.
France has had a ban on fracking since 2011 that was put into place under the government of former President Nicolas Sarkozy. Fracking has been a major boom industry in the U.S.; it has also opened the door for major environmental impact issues, legal issues, and extortion. Fracking has even been linked to minor earthquakes in the U.K., though a temporary ban on the practice was lifted a year later.
“We have to have our eyes wide open about what is going on in the U.S.,” Environmental and Energy Minister Delphine Batho said in a debate. “The reality is that the cost of producing gas doesn’t take into account considerable environmental damage.”
The Environmental and Energy Minister went on to point out that fracking has been linked to earthquakes, aquifer pollution, and heavy metal contamination to name a few. These are environmental risks that that the country of France is not willing to take. It should come as no surprise that in recent months France’s business lobbies have stepped up a campaign in favor of shale energy development.
Even with the well-known dangers associated with fracking, the industry is growing in the United States. Given the current economic climate in America, were many Americans cannot find a full time job, the work that comes with fracking is attractive and many states are jumping on the opportunity. Only time will tell if this will be a regrettable decision.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison