Antoine Simon, a campaigner for the Economic Justice Programme, said:
“This is the very first time that the European Parliament has made officially such a strong statement against fracking.” “It was an opinion report without any legally binding authority and it only targets new projects but it is still a very symbolic victory.”
The text was submitted to the plenary assembly of the European Parliament on Tuesday (2nd February 2016) by Keith Taylor (Green, South East England) and the Danish MEP Margrete Auken. It was part of discussions on a review of the EU biodiversity strategy.
It urged member states:
"On the basis of the precautionary principle and the principle that preventive action should be taken, and taking into account the risks and the negative climate, environmental and biodiversity impacts involved in hydraulic fracturing for the extraction of unconventional hydrocarbons, and the gaps identified in the EU regulatory regime for shale gas activities – not to authorise any new hydraulic fracturing operations in the EU”
The paragraph was challenged but it was approved, along with the review, by a majority of the assembly.
The vote was: 347 in favour, 298 against and 49 abstentions. (Click here to read the report - go to page 28 - Section 13 - §88)
Molly Scott Cato, a Green MEP for South West England, said none of the region’s other representatives in her region voted for the text. (Like many in Portugal too) and in her blog, she wrote:
“This is Europe at its best. A majority of democratically elected members doing the right thing defending our environment and communities from the frackers.” ... “What is shocking and shameful is that in our region, only the Greens are willing to stand up to this dinosaur industry.
We know fracking is deeply unpopular and faces strong opposition whenever and wherever it raises its ugly head. Communities across the region don’t want the noise, air, light and water pollution that this industry would bring. And for the sake of our climate we must leave fossil fuels in the ground.”
And how did our Portuguese MEP's vote?
We were surprised to see that the PS voted against Fracking and in favour of a moratorium, as did the BE, MPT, PDR and PCP which we expected of them, while all the PSD/CDS voted in favour of Fracking - "Shame on Them"!
So, who are the MEP's that technically voted in favour of Fracking?
- COELHO Carlos - EPP (PSD) - carlos.coelho @ europarl.europa.eu
- FERNANDES José Manuel - EPP (PSD) - josemanuel.fernandes @ europarl.europa.eu
- MELO Nuno - EPP (PP) - nuno.melo @ europarl.europa.eu
- MONTEIRO DE AGUIAR Cláudia - EPP (PSD) - claudia.monteirodeaguiar @ europarl.europa.eu
- RANGEL Paulo - EPP (PSD) - paulo.rangel @ europarl.europa.eu
- RIBEIRO Sofia - EPP (PSD) - sofia.ribeiro @ europarl.europa.eu
- RUAS Fernando - EPP (PSD) - fernando.ruas @ europarl.europa.eu
Now that you know, we suggest that you start writting to the above MEP's and strongly voice your thoughts regarding their stand point and their vote.
And the rest?
And although the PS MEP's voted against Fracking on the 2 of February, the Portuguese Prime Minister (PS) has came out in favor of retaining existing contracts - a factor that we don't like, and which needs to be challenged - is our opinion as well. But credit where credit is due ... the Prime Minister has indeed (as recommended in the EU vote) put a hold on any new contracts being awarded when he canceled the tender that was announced in December 2015 for 7 new concessions.
Nonetheless, in our opinion, it may be a good idea for you to write to all the Portuguese MEP's so as to clarify where they stand on this critical issue:
Are they pro or anti-Fracking? And hopefully their answers will assist the Portuguese voter on which party to put their trust in future elections. Here's their contact details.
In our opinion “Portugal is not for "shale" and we will not allow this industry to devastate our beautiful regions across Portugal, starting with the Algarve ... without a fight”.
- EU voting record document (2016/02)
- Frackfree east yorkshire
- Drill or drop article
- MEP's on the Industry Payroll Report
- Parecer de Portugal (2014 ) - Proposta de DECISÃO DO CONSELHO relativa à exploração e à produção de hidrocarbonetos (designadamente gás xisto) na UE mediante fracturação hidráulica maciça
- MEP's non binding vote (2015) - Guardian
- EU MEP's Fracking Scores Record by FOE (Portugal - historical voting overview until 2014)