Shale gas: Draft EP report recommends “positive approach”
By Jakub Iwaniuk in Warsaw | Tuesday 03 April 2012
MEP Boguslaw Sonik (EPP, Poland) considers new shale gas regulation on a European level unnecessary. “These regulations already exist in several European texts, and creating more regulation is therefore not appropriate, not to mention the fact that it would take years,” Sonik insisted, on 2 April in Warsaw, where he presented his draft own-initiative report on ‘The environmental impact of extraction activities of shale oil and shale gas’.
“I do not want this debate to make space for emotions and various false visions,” Sonik told the press. “We need a debate based on facts that are accessible and based, inter alia, on the Polish experience.” The MEP is thus calling for a better application of the existing rules, and for the establishment of a “catalogue of good practice” on shale gas extraction. “Extraction techniques are evolving with time. In twenty years of industrial extraction in the US, these techniques have had an ever-decreasing impact on the environment – in terms of the quantity of water and the chemical products used, and the reduction of the surface of the extraction fields,” says the MEP.“The development of technology promotes a positive approach, both with regard to the environment and the surroundings, ie the citizens who live in the area.”
According to Sonik, it is not extraction in itself that is harmful to the environment but “the errors linked to the application of technologies”. For example, the MEP insists that 10-50% of the water used for extraction can be recycled. Therefore, the report supports the working on high standards for safety and the establishment of techniques allow a quick reaction to unexpected incidents.
As for the impact on the landscape, the MEP states that it is only a “momentary” effect. “We must fight the myths that allege that extraction has a lasting impact on landscape, because extraction towers disappear after three months,” Sonik stressed.
Lastly, Sonik underlines the need for transparency and wants to create a web portal and an information campaign after the US model. “We must guarantee good communication and good dialogue with the local populations to avoid negative emotions and protests,” Sonik said.
The report will be presented to the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment (ENVI) on 10 April, to be debated on 25 April. The amended report should go through plenary in June.
Boguslaw Sonik calls for a “catalogue of good practice” on shale gas extraction