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Hydraulic fracturing of shale gas: a real scandal!

BOOK REVIEW

In France, Marine Jobert and François Veillerette, spokesperson for Generations Futures (HEAL member and partner) have published a book on the controversial new method for extracting shale gas known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Entitled ’Le vrai scandale des gaz de schiste’ the book is available in French only from Les Liens Qui Liberent, 2011.

Paris, 31 August 2011 - Why a book on this theme when some have said that the file on shale gas and petrol fracking in France is definitively closed following legislation that envisages banning hydraulic fracturing?

Following a reminder of the mobilisation against fracking in South West France (a meeting in August 2011 attracted 1,500 people including José Bové), the book shows that the new law hasn’t done anything to put off the petrol companies and investors, whose appetites are ever greater. Gigantic fracturing projects are underway in Poland, Argentina, China and the United States. The authors think it unlikely that France will be left out.

Why all the concern? Fracking, which has been widespread in the USA since 2000, has an enormous environmental impact: it uses dangerous chemical substances, contaminates groundwater, consumes a large amount of water, and destroys the landscape.

While climate disturbances get larger and the need to change the energy paradigm becomes ever more urgent, these fracturing projects only contribute to delaying an indispensable change in thinking. The book puts energy choices at its centre arguing that this is a crucial moment in the energy debate and a moment at which, according to the authors, it should become public.

The book also reveals the secret history of gas fracturing, which leads from the US ex-Vice President Dick Cheney to a certain Julien Balkany, passing through the top-level administration in France. The book reveals much about our appetite for consumption, our blindness to the climate crisis, and the current weakening of the democratic spirit.

On the website dedicated to the new book, readers discover news of a certain Julien Balkany, half-brother of Patrick Balkany and former non-executive Vice President of a company called Toréador, which has a permit to explore petrol fracturing in the Paris basin area. He has put pressure on the editor and the authors of the book threatening defamation charges. For what reason? Author Francois Veillerette says that they would all very much like to know the answer to that question. However, while acknowledging that intimidation is clearly a weapon, he says there has been no yielding to it: the editor and authors have modified nothing in the book as a result of this unacceptable pressure.

’Le vrai scandale des gaz de schiste’ website is at www.gaz-de-schiste.fr It was Book of the Day in Le Monde du 2 septembre 2011.

Last updated on 11 January 2012

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