European Parliament Votes for Mandatory EIA on Shale Gas
Members of the European Parliament voted in favour of a mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for all shale gas and other unconventional drilling activities in the European Union.
“We are revising this key legislation to align it with Europe's new priorities, such as soils, resource use and protecting biodiversity. Hydraulic fracturing raises concerns. We lay down clear criteria to avoid conflicts of interest and involve the public," said lead MEP Andrea Zanoni in a note released on Wednesday after the vote.
With the vote, Zanoni was granted a mandate to negotiate a first-reading agreement with EU ministers.
“This vote to impose a mandatory EIA for all shale gas drilling was a litmus test for the resolve among MEPs to demand an adequate risk-management framework for shale gas activities in Europe,” said Food & Water Europe policy officer Geert De Cock on Wednesday.
According to a the environmental NGO, the vote indicates the intention of MEPs to safeguard the EU from the ‘negative impacts of an out-of-control boom in shale gas drilling in the United States.’
The vote is part of a revision of the EU’s 28-year-old rules on EIA. Current legislation covers natural gas projects that extract at least 500,000 cubic metres each day. Some shale gas projects are likely to be less extensive, not requiring therefore any EIA.
Experts don't see the law to be passed during the present legislation.