Bulgaria Becomes the Second European Country To Ban Fracking

A few weeks ago the Bulgarian parliament voted to ban Chevron from using hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, to drill for natural gas in the country’s northeast. The parliament voted to amend the exploration license, awarded to Chevron in June 2010, for five years by limiting Chevron to conventional drilling methods. The parliament granted the license for shale gas exploration at the 4,400 square kilometer Novi Pazar field. Reuters reports that the estimates for Novi Pazar are between 300 billion and one trillion cubic meters of shale gas. Bulgaria hopes that shale gas production will reduce gas imports from Russia.

Concern for water and leaking gas

Public concern over possible contamination of the drinking water supply with chemicals and leaking gas prompted the vote. Three days before the vote on January 14, several thousand people, calling for a ban on fracking, protested in rallies across Bulgaria. Bulgaria is the second nation to ban the use of fracking. France banned the use of fracking last summer.

Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov told reporters after a cabinet meeting, “The idea is that they can still have the right to test for oil and gas, but without using the controversial technology hydraulic fracturing.

“It was a mistake that the necessary wide public debate on this topic has not happened, so that it is explained to people what fracking means,” Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said during the Cabinet discussion before the decision to change Chevron’s exploration permit. “If people are not convinced that this is the right thing, my reasoning is that we should stop [fracking] and start the public debate now,” Borissov said.

However, Borissov added that potential investors need to persuade the Bulgarian people that exploring shale is both safe and profitable, which sounds like the door is open to approve fracking down the road. To make matters worse, Traikov said that Bulgaria could allow fracking if found to have no environmental risks.

Some EU nations have issued shale gas exploration permits. The English language news site, SofiaEcho.com reports that Bulgaria will return to the issue once it is on the EU agenda.  Hopefully, the EU will take a strong stand against fracking.

Related content:

What’s With All this Fracking? Drilling May Endanger Drinking Water

Success! A Fracking Moratorium in South Africa

EPA Chief Tells Congress ‘There’s No Proof Fracking Is Dangerous

Photo credit: Flickr user, http://www.flickr.com/photos/boscdanjou/6074425131/

106 comments

Veselin Varbanov
Veselin Varbanov2 years ago

Done ,my friends!

Samantha Richardson

I'm glad Bulgaria has stopped fracking, I just hope it is a permanent ban.

Ruth R.
Ruth R.3 years ago

Congratulations to Bulgaria!
Posted to twitter, google and facebook.

Darren Tan
Darren Tan4 years ago

Woohoo Bulgaria upholds its sovereignty against an evil corporation.

Robin b.
Robin B.4 years ago

Is it ever a good idea to force hundreds of toxic chemicals into the ground & water table?
NO! Anyone who says it's a good idea is going to make money from the assault on our land.
I'd like to see someone on the frackers' payroll drink the local water.

Sheri P.
Sheri P.4 years ago

Way to go, Bulgaria!!

Brian F.
Brian F.4 years ago

Ban fracking now! Fracking is a criminal activity that threatens our water supply. It's time for the USA to show courage and ban this horrible practice that contaminate and poisons our water supply!

Meta R.
Meta Reid4 years ago

Well at least someone cares about their ground water and people having clean water to drink. Good for Bulgaria! Now if we could just do the same.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L.4 years ago

The USA should ban it also.

Past Member
Past Member 4 years ago

if these chemicals used in fracking were put in American soil by a religious extremist we would call them terrorists..
"a good agent for chemical terrorism should be colorless and odorless and inexpensive and readily available and not detectable until symptoms are experienced" (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/terrorist+act)
the truth is fracking causes FEAR and threatens the health and welfare of citizens everywhere they go..the say its safe because they pump cement down there?? like there havent been any earthquakes anywhere, in fact fracking is known to INCREASE seismic activity
http://csis.org/publication/fracking-and-seismic-activity
causing the very thing that can crack their little "safety seal" like it was never there..
COME ON they started this back when asbestos and lead paint were "the way to go"