EU energy commissioner Günther Oettinger has stated that there is no immediate need to change EU legislation to take account of concerns with shale gas, deliberately misrepresenting research commissioned by his own directorate general (1). The Greens have hit out at the statement and called on the energy commissioner to come forward with legislative proposals to address shale gas exploration in a letter sent today (2). Commenting on the statement and the Green initiative, Greens/EFA vice-president and industry spokesperson Reinhard Bütikofer said:
"By distorting the findings of the Commission's own research, commissioner Oettinger is negligent. The study clearly highlights the need to consider adjusting EU legislation to take account of concerns with shale gas, particularly with regards to public participation and environmental impact assessments. In tandem with citizen's initiatives from seven member states, the Greens called on Commissioners Oettinger, Potocnik and Hedegaard to establish a European dialogue with citizens and NGOs on shale gas in spring last year - so far without success.
"The Commission must now come forward with proposals to adapt EU legislation to take account of shale gas extraction concerns without delay and we have made this point in the open letter sent today (2)."
French Green MEP and shale gas campaigner José Bové added:
"Commissioner Oettinger should learn from the experience in the USA where innumerable reports have highlighted the negative impacts of shale gas exploitation on land, water resources and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the potential of a new financial bubble. The commissioner's role is to defend the interests of European citizens and, to this end, he should follow the recommendations of his own research and come forward with proposals to adapt the relevant EU legislation."
(1) The study, by Philippe and Partners, stated that "there is no reason for complacency" and that "adjustments to legislation should be further considered". Click to view the study (pdf)
(2) Click to view the open letter (pdf)