French Government will Appeal Court Decision on Total Permit
France’s energy minister Segolene Royal said January 30 that French authorities would appeal the decision by the administrative court of Cergy-Pontoise to return the Montelimar exploration licence to Total.
She restated her “determination to strictly enforce the hydraulic fracturing ban to protect the environment and health,” according to a ministerial statement arguing that the position reflected the government energy policies mentioning the energy transition law. “The energy transition law set a goal to reduce the use of hydrocarbons by 30% by 2030: The law makes it necessary to amend the overall policy in terms of hydrocarbons explorations to fight climate change in the long run,” the document says.
On January 12 she responded to a question from a lawmaker regarding 160 exploration permit requests saying something similar: “We must stop delivering new authorizations to explore conventional hydrocarbons. We must rather encourage companies to shift their investments towards the production of renewables energies and energy efficiency. The ministry will deny any new application aimed to explore conventional hydrocarbons.”
The minister’s quick reaction on a Saturday was also a response to shale gas opponents, such as a green member of the European parliament Jose Bove. He urged the government to react. “I am asking to the government to appeal the decision because the fracking ban is undermined. The impossibility to use the hydraulic fracturing was introduced in the law. We must imperatively clarify its ambiguities to make sure the law is implemented,” Bove said. Total did not say it would use hydraulic fracturing in its application.