EU backs 'robust' regulations on shale

Sept. 19, 2012 at 9:38 AM

BRUSSELS, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- EU members need strong rules to regulate the emergence of shale oil and natural gas deposits, European committees ruled.

Separate non-binding resolutions from the European Energy Committee and the Environment Committee called for "robust regulatory regimes" on shale developments in the European Union.

"Member states should have robust rules on all shale gas activities, including hydraulic fracturing of rock," a parliamentary statement read. "Members of the European Parliament also advise the EU to learn from U.S. experiences, with a view to using environmentally friendly industrial processes and 'best available technologies.'"

The French government placed a moratorium on shale natural gas exploration in part because of environmental concerns. Some of the chemicals used for resource extraction from shale are viewed as harmful to the environment.

French supermajor Total, which had a permit to explore 1,670 square miles of land in southern France, said last year it would challenge the decision.

The British Institution of Mechanical Engineers, meanwhile, issued a policy statement to lawmakers expressing its support for the exploitation of shale reserves there. Shale is "no silver bullet" but it can help allay regional economic concerns, it said.

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