Bulgaria's Rulers to Go for Temporary Ban on Shale Gas Exploration

Energy | January 16, 2012, Monday // 16:23|  views

Bulgaria's ruling center-right party GERB has decided to approve a temporary moratorium on the exploration and extraction of shale gas amidst a day after mass protest rallies took place in 12 Bulgarian cities over the issue.

Thus, the Parliamentary Group of the GERB party will accept the proposals of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, the nationalist party Ataka, and the marginal conservative party RZS ("Order, Law, Justice") for a temporary ban, announced Valentin Nikolov, deputy head of the GERB group, during a meeting of the Parliamentary Energy Committee Monday night.

The moratorium, however, will have only a temporary character, Nikolov explained as cited by Darik Radio.

In his words, the ban will be in place until the Ministry of Economy, Energy, and Tourism, and the Ministry of Environment and Waters come up with amendments of the Bulgarian legislation that "guarantee" that the hydraulic fracking method used for shale gas exploration and extraction "will not hurt the environment".

"The moratorium will be in place until the two ministers write the amendments which will them have to be adopted by the Parliament," stated the key MP, while saying that the GERB party made no commitment as to when the ban will be adopted.

The Energy Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament convened at an emergency meeting Monday night in response to the mass protests against shale gas exploration and extraction that took place of the weekend all across Bulgaria.

The anti-shale gas movement is rapidly gaining momentum, with its Facebook group featuring 55 000 members as of mid January 2012. The people in Bulgaria are mostly concerned with the effects of the extraction and exploration method known as hydraulic fracking, which is said to be poisoning underground waters as a result of the use of chemicals.

The sitting of the Bulgarian Parliament Committee on Energy continued late into the night on Monday. The decision that it will made on a temporary shale gas ban is expected to be adopted by the Parliament on Wednesday.

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Tags: shale gas, exploration, exploration rights, Chevron, extraction, protests, environmetal, Valentin Nikolov, GERB, moratorium, Economy Ministry, Economy Minister, Energy minister, Traicho Traikov


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