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Former Bulgarian PM calls for fracking

SOFIA, Bulgaria, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- It's a bad decision to uphold a ban on hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits in Bulgaria, a former prime minister said.

Last month Bulgarian officials opted to revoke a license for Chevron to explore shale deposits and imposed an indefinite ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

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Right-wing lawmakers, including former Prime Minister Ivan Kostov, called for a reversal of the decision, noting legislation should be drafted to ensure tighter control of the practice, the Sofia News Agency reports.

Critics of shale gas exploration note chemicals used in fracking fluid could reach groundwater. A series of small earthquakes in the United Kingdom and United States have been attributed to shale natural gas development.

Kostov said some geological researchers in the country supported fracking so long as methods are used that ensure the practice is safe for the environment. He said it would be a poor decision by the government to miss out on the emerging shale boom.

The Novi Pazar shale gas deposit in Bulgaria holds an estimated 1.05 trillion-35 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Bulgarian officials had said there was potentially enough shale gas in the country to meet domestic demand for the next millennium.

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Activists took to the streets in Sofia before the government banned shale gas development.

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