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Europe mulls reviews for fracking

Oct. 10, 2013 at 8:07 AM

BRUSSELS, Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A decision by the European Parliament to call for an environmental review for hydraulic fracturing operations is a relief, an environmental group said.

The European Parliament issued a proposal calling for environmental impact studies for operations involving hydraulic fracturing.

Current legislation calls for a review for natural gas projects that extract at least 1.7 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. Parliament said it wants the requirement to be mandatory regardless of the volume or resource extracted.

"We are revising this key legislation to align it with Europe's new priorities, such as soils, resource use and protecting biodiversity," Italian lawmaker Andrea Zanoni said in a statement Wednesday.

Geert De Cock, policy officer for Food & Water Europe, said the majority vote for the proposal in Parliament is a vote of confidence for the environment.

"Imposing a mandatory environmental impact assessment for shale gas drilling is the start of adapting the EU regulatory framework to the ugly reality of unconventional hydrocarbons in the EU," his organization stated.

Some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing, dubbed fracking, are viewed as a threat to groundwater.

The European Commission is expected to unveil its final proposal by the end of the year.

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