France: Public Prosecutor Defends Repeal of Shale Gas Permits
On the 8th of December, as negotiators from around the world were working around the clock to reach agreement on a climate deal in Le Bourget, just 20 miles west from there, the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise was hearing the arguments of Schuepbach over the abrogation of two permits in the wake of the anti-fracking law passed in 2011.
The US company is claiming damages of €117 million as partial compensation for the licences of Nant and Villeneuve-de-Berg in Southern France.
The long anticipated decision, which could revive the shale gas debate in France or bury it at least until the next presidential elections in 2017, will come later this month. The court reserved judgement to late December but the public prosecutors words give some clues with regards to the outcome of the case. The appeal is likely to be rejected.
According to the judge, the French State, which banned the hydraulic fracturing technique, had no other choice than to repeal the existing permits if the energy company (Schuepbach) refuses to give them up. The public prosecutor also pointed out the impact of fracking on the environment.
"The action for compensation will not fly if we look at the judge conclusions and I welcome it" reacted José Bové, a prominent figure of the green movement and member of the European Parliament.
As for Total's appeal regarding the Montélimar permit in the South East of France, the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise will consider the case early next year on January 8th.