The Last Barrel ///

If one judges the state of fracing regulation in Western Europe by what has taken place in France, it would seem nothing short of a disaster. The French parliament, a year ago, voted 287-146 to ban hydraulic fracturing. The bill subsequently became law in June 2011, when the French Senate voted 176-151 to also pass the ban. In a bit of bureaucratic double talk that would do the Obama administration proud, the new French law bans hydraulic fracturing, itself, but not “shale gas exploration.” The inability to frac wells is tantamount to a de facto ban on virtually all shale gas exploration, so who do French lawmakers think they’re kidding? And, just to throw a little extra “attitude” into the mix, and with an eye toward his re-election effort, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said last October that France would maintain a fracing ban until there is proof that shale gas exploration won’t harm the environment or “massacre” the landscape.

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