There have been some incidents which have briefly pleased those of us who care about the environment. One of those which gave me hope personally is the commitment from the president himself that hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) as it’s known is banned completely in France. Unfortunately the pressure is growing from the powerful energy explorers, oil and gas companies and other profit driven companies who are happy to destroy our environment to enhance their balance sheets.
The process involves blasting millions of gallons of water, chemicals and sand into the rock formations below our feet to release oil and gas reserves. It sounds crazy when you explain it – actually fracturing the rock. The idea is that it allows access to the gas which would have previously been inaccessible.
The fact that when this happens methane gas and various chemicals are poured into the ground and can easily contaminate the water table or sources of water seems to have been overlooked. Some studies have reported that methane in drinking wells near a fracing site can be 17 times higher than normal. Of course much of the damage will probably long term as we slowly poison people and the planet with yet another mad polluting idea to extract gas and oil. A high proportion of the toxines used in Fracking are left in the ground, and not before you ask none of it’s biodegradable.
The problem is that although this is a terrible practices with probably more dangers than we can think of, France probably sits on one of the most valuable resources of shale gas in the huge Paris Basin. This is the tactic companies like Total and GDF are taking, evaluate the reserves that France is sitting on before decisions are made. Of course this will put huge pressure on any ban being upheld as billlions of dollars will probably be adequate compensation for destroying and poisoning the land and people.
The debate is happening now in France and you can keep up with developments in the French Online media from anywhere in the world. Le Monde has a great web site with lots of news and debate, their are a few decent online media channels too – my favourite is M6 Replay which has news and entertainment channels all accessible on the internet. Unfortunately these can only be accessed in France so if you’re outside you are going to need a French proxy – here’s an example. This is a computer based in France that allows you to route your web browsing through, this gives you the appearance of a French IP address and then you can watch anything without issues.