Today, 10 October, over 30 Members of the European Parliament in their letter have addressed the President, Chair of the Seimas (Parliament) and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania expressing their concern about allegedly launched shale gas initiatives in Lithuania. Bronis Ropė MEP (Greens/EFA), the initiator of this address, emphasizes that the proposed tax and legal requirements reduction incentive could not only cause environmental damages but also imply legal consequences of breaching EU legislation.
"Many European politicians understand well the controversies behind the hydraulic fracking technology. Its reliability was also put under question by the incoming President of the European Commission. Currently worldwide several companies, engaged in the shale gas extraction activities, are undergoing multi-billion euro lawsuits for the damage to the environment and local communities done by used toxic chemicals. I cannot understand why Lithuanian Government is ignoring the worries of local communities and NGOs as well as scientists' arguments and is pushing forward the unsafe technologies ", - Mr B. Ropė asks.
The MEP is indicating that Lithuania is currently finalising the construction of LPG terminal and there are no estimates on its effect to the national economy and gas prices: "Wouldn't it be worth to wait and see the results of the terminal project and only then move forward with the new initiatives? Can we guarantee that the shale gas will be cheaper?"
Bronis Ropė indicates that Government's plans on business conditions' facilitation for the shale gas extraction are causing even more doubts. The alleged intention to set only 1 per cent profit tax for shale gas extraction during first three years of operation can be regarded as violating the principles of fair competition. The Government also seem to ignore the obligation to follow the EU rules in this field and to notify the Commission on any new shale gas exploration activities. Therefore the MEPs are asking Lithuanian authorities to stop the allegedly already launched initiative of taxation and environmental requirements' reduction for shale gas exploration and extraction.
"We emphasize that any hydraulic fracking activities shall be preceded by appropriate consultations with the local communities. Neither Government, nor the Parliament have a right to turn a blind eye on the concerns of citizen, not to say that ignoring fair competition rules may also cause serious legal consequences at the EU level" - Mr Bronis Ropė MEP, a member of Lithuanian Farmers and Greens union, emphasizes.
Mr Bronis Ropė indicates that Lithuania has excellent possibilities to ensure its energy security though development of renewable energy and usage of local energy sources. This would not only ensure the supply of safe and secure energy but also would contribute to job creation on local level, thus providing more significant support to the local communities compared with currently proposed small share of taxes, paid by shale gas extraction companies.
Bronis Ropė MEP
Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union
Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament