Bulgaria's Environment Minister Decries Shale Gas Moratorium

Environment | June 3, 2013, Monday // 17:10|  views

Bulgaria's new Environment Minister, Iskra Mihaylova, photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's new Environment Minister, Iskra Mihaylova, has suggested that the moratorium on shale gas drilling is an impediment triggered by public mistrust of Bulgarian and EU laws.

In a Monday interview for private TV station bTV, she claimed that the moratorium on hydraulic fracturing was a temporary measure and offered no solution to the problem.

Mihaylova pointed out that Bulgaria had good environmental legislation and could well afford to launch shale gas exploration which would identify where the technology posed environmental and health risks, after which the people would be free to say "no" to the concrete project, instead of an all-out moratorium.

Bulgaria's new Environment Minister, as cited by Sega daily, insisted that the strict observance of laws would guarantee the safety of shale gas drilling, adding that the main problem was public mistrust.

She noted that the existing moratorium on hydraulic fracturing rejected the powers of environmental laws in Bulgaria and the EU, saying "no, we shall not conduct exploration activities and we are not even interested whether such an option exists."

As regards the cases of construction on protected territories on the Black Sea coast, she commented that the temporary moratorium proposed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) was one way to go, adding that the step had to be followed by serious legal amendments which would guarantee that the areas would remain protected.

She added that she would carefully study the implementation of the concession contract for the ski facilities in the Bansko ski resort built on the territory of the Pirin National Park, adding that the main point of contention between local authorities and environmentalists concerned the ways of developing sustainable tourism.

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Tags: shale gas, shale gas exploration, hydraulic fracturing, Bulgarian government, Bansko ski zone, ski facilities, protected areas, iskra mihaylova, Environment Minister


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