Despite legislation being passed by the French government banning the use of 'fracking' techniques to extract the gas, research by drilling companies can still take place.
The team behind the Schiste Happens website are hoping people will sign a petition aimed at blocking the creation of a permit covering land in the south west of France (click thumbnail image to enlarge).
"The petition is calling for a rejection of the Permis Beaumont de Lomagne in the Lot, Dordogne and Tarn-et-Garonne, as well as the rescinding of all existing permits and a general tightening up of the law passed in July which only banned commercial hydro-fracking," writes Schiste Happens.
"It still allowed companies to go ahead and get the gas out if they could do so without hydro fracking. It also allowed for experimental fracking for research purposes. A cynic may interpret that as using fracking to find a new way of fracking which is not called fracking...
"But this misses a critical issue which is that while the prospect of 'easy' energy is dangled in front of oil companies and governments, research and development into alternative and renewable sources will be greatly reduced. Also the drive to reduce the use of all energy derived from carbon based fuels will also slow down.
"If you are in any doubt about this, witness Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement yesterday on the grounds that they could not reduce their consumption and withdrawal would mean they could not be fined for missing their target - brilliant! Oh yes, and they have massive reserves of shale gas.
"Petitions in France work. They were in no small part responsible for July's law but they need to get to 100,000 (or so) before they have any effect. So far there are fewer than 600 signatures on this new petition. Let's see if we can get that into the thousands before the end of the week."
(After you sign the petition you will get an email from Petitions24.net asking you to confirm that you are the person you say you are. Just click the COMFIRMER link in the email.)
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