Jan 162014
 

The Council of Canadians and the Blue Planet Project have joined with almost 250 other organizations across Europe in an open letter to the president of the European Commission, European Council members, Members of the European Parliament, and numerous other European officials.

These groups are mobilized against the development in Europe of unconventional fossil fuels, are extremely worried about the recent developments regarding review of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, plans for a European unconventional fossil fuels framework, and also about trans-Atlantic agreements and projects of the European Commission.

The letter says, "We, groups of concerned citizens and environmental organisations, mobilised against the development in Europe of unconventional fossil fuels (UFFs), are extremely worried about the recent developments regarding review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, plans for a European UFF framework and also about transatlantic agreements and projects of the European Commission. To extract shale gas, shale oil, tight gas and coal-bed methane a technique called hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' is being used. This goes along with multiple and unavoidable impacts on the environment, on climate, on people's health and on a number of fundamental freedoms and human rights."

It also notes, "Regarding CETA (the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) and TAFTA (the US-EU Trans Atlantic Free Trade Agreement), it is becoming increasingly evident that REACH (the European chemicals legislation) is in their sights. However, this regulation is the tool that prevents industries from doing just about anything, especially in the chemical sector, which makes products for the mining industry. We also note that the arbitration rules between firms and states, encouraged by the Energy Charter Treaty, is one that is best suited to the investors. Investors may challenge environmental legislation purely on the basis that it represents an obstacle to their investments and thus their profits."

And it says, "Members of the European Parliament, you must act decisively and with clarity so that the law is unambiguous. This Environmental Impact Assessment is required for the life cycle of the well and should come into force prior to any exploration or construction activity (pad construction, drilling, cementing, casing, wire line logging, etc.). Considering its numerous impacts, the use of fracking techniques for the exploration and exploitation of fossil fuel energy sources should be subject to a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment."

The organizations signing onto this letter come from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

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