First Shale Gas Protest of the Year in Pungesti, Romania
Around 250 villagers gathered on Sunday afternoon on private land in the village of Armasoaia on the Pungesti commune in Vaslui County, Romania to protest against shale gas exploration and exploitation in the area.
According to officials, the protest lasted 2 hours. Participants came from various areas of Romania and were heard chanting slogans against the Government and Pungesti’s current Mayor, Mircea Vlasa, who leased the land to Chevron.
The protest was peaceful and without incident as participants collaborated well with riot police, said protest leader Constantin Paslaru. According to Paslaru, there will be other protests in the area, which is the reason for negotiations with riot police to ensure a perimeter for people to gather.
Approximately 400 riot police supervised the protest, almost double the number of participants.
The National Agency for Mineral Resources is holding a new public debate in Vaslui regarding shale gas exploitation and its economic benefits compared to the environmental dangers.
Alexandru Riza, Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace CEE Romania, questioned whether energy independence would actually result from shale gas exploitation and stressed Romania’s potential in the field of renewable energy.
Representing Romania fara EI (Romania without THEM), George Epurescu stated that the debate was actually a promotion for shale gas and accused the National Agency for Mineral Resources of lying.
In Chevron’s latest press release regarding the events in Pungesti the company highlighted that its projects that have environmental permits in Vaslui County are only exploration works to evaluate the areas hydrocarbons potential. Exploration projects imply only geo-physical measurements in the bore and to extract cores as a result of drilling and DO NOT imply hydraulic fracking.
Furthermore, Chevron officials restated the company’s promise to undergo activities in a safe and responsible manner with respect to the environment and its commitment to have constructive and positive relationships with the communities.