Fracking: from veto to banning the bans

2014 ended with some victories for antifracking movement around the world that has seen various prohibitions and moratoriums. Meanwhile, the Spanish Government is determined to take the opposite direction. Policy changes at the state level have upheld the decisions of the Constitutional Court to cancel or paralyze the various initiatives to ban fracking at regional levels, leaving us with the contradictory “forbidden to forbid”.


Last November, California county San Benito and Mendocino called a vote on fracking, and in both cases they approved a ban on hydraulic fracturing technique, with 57% and 67% of the vote respectively.

In Denton, a municipality with more than 250 hydraulic fracturing wells, the public also agreed to ban the technique with 59% of the votes. A particularly significant decision since Denton is in Texas, one of the largest oil states of the United States, where the extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons through this controversial technique is very intensive. In parallel, the city of Athens in Ohio became the fifth state to ban the technique.


In December, the Dutch parliament voted to extend for another two years the current moratorium on fracking, established until the effects of the technique are clarified.

Beyond this in New York, it was decided to maintain the existing moratorium on fracking until a law prohibiting the technique was definitively approved. The decision is based on an official report outlining the impacts on health, uncertainties and lack of knowledge that still surround this technique.

Meanwhile the government of Quebec, Canada, have also established an indefinite moratorium, arguing that environmental risks far outweigh the economic benefits of the activity. And the same steps were followed days after by fellow Canadian province New Brunswick.

Forbidden to Forbid

While in other parts of the world fracking is becoming increasingly unpopular, the Spanish government is preventing the Autonomous Communities that want to veto it. Several changes in the law related to fracking have been established, and so the Constitutional Court has paralyzed prohibitions that had been initiated so far in Cantabria, La Rioja, Navarre and Catalonia

In a recent report by the Ombudsman, Soledad Becerril, there was surprise that activities such as fracking are taking place in the country were permitted without a consensus on the impact of this new technology and the consequences of them are clear.

Ecologists in Action are asking the Government to look ahead in 2015 at something beyond the interests of a few companies and apply a precautionary principle that has been seen even in places that have pioneered fracking. sites are required.


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