Czech lower house committee passes resolution against shale gas mining.

By bne IntelliNews October 4, 2012
The petition committee of the lower house of the Czech Parliament has passed a resolution saying that the start of shale gas mining in the country is not suitable in view of its environmental impact, CTK newswire reported. The committee passed the resolution on a petition signed by 31,000 people and asked the environment ministry to take steps to halt all activities regarding shale gas prospecting and extraction. Deputy industry and trade minister Pavel Solc told the lawmakers that shale gas mining is of no strategic interest to the Czech Repbulic and that the country's draft energy policy does not reckon with prospecting, extraction or use of shale gas. The petition is in line with a proposal made by environment minister Tomas Chalupa last month for a moratorium on shale gas exploration till end-June 2014 giving the authorities enough time to pass new legislation introducing rules for the use of the exploration technologies. During the two years, the ministry will not issue licences for new shale gas research projects. The ministry's plan addresses concerns of local communities that drilling for shale gas increases the risk of nearby drinking water being contaminated. Shale gas fracking, a process where pressurised water and chemicals are pumped underground to open shale rocks and release trapped gas, has been banned in France and Bulgaria, while Poland and the UK are backing the technology. The Czech environment ministry revoked in April 2012 a provisional exploration licence awarded to BasGas Energia Czech, a unit of Hutton Energy, which hoped to mine shale gas deposits in northeast Bohemia. Five regions in the country are being examined for possible shale gas drilling - for example areas along the Berounka River near Beroun in central Bohemia and in the Beskydy Mountains in north-east Moravia.

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