Collapsing democracy in EU?

JM, 16.1.2014

Joint open letter to EU institutions regarding EIA (mandatory EIA for nonconventional fossil fuels).

249 groups of concerned citizens and environmental organisations from 22 countries, mobilised against the development in Europe of unconventional fossil fuels, are extremely worried about the recent developments regarding review of the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive, plans for a European UFF framework and also about transatlantic agreements and projects of the European Commission.


Europe, January 16, 2014

For the attention of: José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, & Commissioners
To European Council Members and national heads of state (Presidents, Prime Ministers & Ministers
To Members of the European Parliament.
Subject: Unconventional fossil fuels / Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
Directive & other projects from the European Institutions
We, groups of concerned citizens and environmental organisations, mobilised against the development
in Europe of unconventional fossil fuels (UFFs), are extremely worried about the recent developments
regarding review of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive, plans for a European UFF
framework and also about transatlantic agreements and projects of the European Commission.
To extract shale gas, shale oil, tight gas and coal-bed methane a technique called hydraulic fracturing
or “fracking” is being used. This goes along with multiple and unavoidable impacts on the
environment, on climate, on people’s health and on a number of fundamental freedoms and human
The main reasons why we oppose this industry are:
The extraction of these hydrocarbons will worsen our GHG-footprint and will divert or even
jeopardize European energy and climate objectives. Instead of moving away from fossil fuel
energy sources, developing more sources of renewable energy, and improving energyefficiency
policies, this industry would lock us into another dirty fossil fuel cycle;
This extraction industry requires a massive system of pipelines, pressure stations and
transportation hubs in order to operate. This inevitably leads to methane leaks, with different
reports suggesting leakage of between 4% and 11% of the total methane volume produced. As a
greenhouse gas, methane is 86 times more potent than CO2 on a 20-year timescale, which
makes UFF production potentially even more damaging for climate than coal itself.
The extraction techniques impact ecosystems and local environments in a destructive and
irrevocable manner;
These extraction projects take up a disproportionate amount of essential primary resources:
land, water and air;
As the industry requires a vast number of vehicles for transportation purposes, these projects
also carry secondary burdens to the EU economy such as public infrastructure depreciation on
roads, bridges, etc. Most public roads in the EU are not designed to carry the added weight of
the “super trucks” or “road-trains” that the industry uses, especially in rural areas.
A significant number of inhabitants would be directly affected by this type of exploitation,
including those who survive exclusively by farming their land. Extraction would lead to an
increase in poverty;
Political promotion of these activities completely contradicts the growing need for local
economic systems based on natural and cultural heritages and renewable energies;
UFF activities correspond to large-scale industrialisation – they have massive impacts on
regional planning and affect a wide range of densely populated areas and environmentally
sensitive zones, as observed in the USA, Canada, and Australia.
The European authorities have already published studies demonstrating these risks. They are aware of
the numerous scientific and peer-reviewed studies warning about the multiple and worrying impacts
attached to this industry. However, it seems that policymakers appear of a mind to ignore all these
significant facts. Further to this, even the opinions of directly affected populations are being brutally
The current legal situation in the EU does not guarantee a mandatory EIA for the exploration and
extraction of UFFs throughout Europe, and represents a permanent violation of European
environmental policy principles, of regional planning goals and of fundamental European democratic
values. This essential requirement would have necessitated baseline studies before the commencement
of new projects and would have guaranteed better inclusion of local communities in the decisionmaking
The UFF framework that will be announced by the European Commission is just a set of non-binding
recommendations that goes against the results of its own impact assessment requiring legislative
actions. Thanks to the joint action of Mr. Barroso and countries such as the UK, Poland, Romania,
Czech Republic and Hungary, the EU are opening the doors to a poorly regulated and heavily polluting
industry. The promises made to “develop an EU framework for safe and secure unconventional
hydrocarbon extraction” will not be kept.
The above arguments, backed up by evidence, have been expressed on many occasions by groups of
concerned citizens and environmental organisations, particularly with regard to the Korbach
Resolution. It appears that our politicians do not wish or are not prepared to take these arguments into
This is a serious denial of democracy and a clear sign that the balance is tipping in favour of uncertain
short-term and environmentally damaging financial gain, at the cost of long-term public health and
sustainable environment. In addition, we have noted that there is some corruption at local level. Local
communities have been plunged into distress and insecurity, with violations of human rights and
repression, as recently in Pungesti (Romania), Zurawlow (Poland) and Barton Moss (Great Britain);
and trust in the European Union is vanishing fast.
This state of affairs needs to be taken into consideration as part of the review of the EIA Directive, and
also in the negotiations on CETA and TAFTA, as these agreements are being negotiated in absolute
secrecy. This cannot be tolerated by the EU Parliament, EU Council and EU Commission. The
Commission announced a “non-binding framework” on shale gas. What will be the flexibility when
taking into account the huge pressure from investors and the energy industry?
Regarding CETA and TAFTA, it is becoming increasingly evident that REACH is in their sights.
However, this regulation is the tool that prevents industries from doing just about anything, especially
in the chemical sector, which makes products for the mining industry. We also note that the
arbitration rules between firms and states, encouraged by the Energy Charter Treaty, is one that is best
suited to the investors. Investors may challenge environmental legislation purely on the basis that it
represents an obstacle to their investments and thus their profits. This may result in:
Payment of considerable financial compensation to companies, which is then taken from
individual member state budgets
A free-trade system that takes its lead from the Energy Charter Treaty, and completely favours
the private sector and investors over public interest and member state sovereignty.
For all the reasons detailed above, we solemnly call upon the members of the European Council, the
Commissioners and the Members of the European Parliament to take action now, in the best interests
of their member state populations and all EU citizens. Denying the facts previously described would
mean that European policymakers are ready to accept the harmful effects of fracking for the immediate
future and for future generations.
Members of the European Parliament, you must act decisively and with clarity so that the law is
unambiguous. This Environmental Impact Assessment is required for the life cycle of the well and
should come into force prior to any exploration or construction activity (pad construction, drilling,
cementing, casing, wire line logging, etc.). Considering its numerous impacts, the use of fracking
techniques for the exploration and exploitation of fossil fuel energy sources should be subject to a
mandatory Environmental Impact Assessment.
Members of the European Council, Mr. President of the European Commission, and Commissioners,
national Heads of States and Ministers concerned, you should definitely act for the removal of an ISDS
(Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement) within CETA/TAFTA because it torpedoes our judicial systems
and it can be used to attack the already political enacted environmental policy objectives, climate
change and energy targets, consumer protection and legal principles of the European Union, and the
exception on the REACH regulation which, if anything, should even be strengthened.
Austria Bürgerinitiative Risiko-Gas
Austria Bürgerinitiative SCHIEFESgas – Weinviertel statt Gasviertel
Belgium Climaxi vzw
Belgium Corporate Europe Observatory
Belgium Fracking Free Ireland – Brussels
Belgium Friends of the Earth Flanders & Brussels
Bulgaria Climate action coalition
Bulgaria Foundation for Environment and Agriculture
Bulgaria Fracking Free Bulgaria
Canada BC Tapwater Alliance Stop Fracking British Columbia
Canada Council of Canadians
Canada Ernst versus Encana
Canada WARNED (Toronto), group initiated by the Romanian diaspora in Canada
Czech Republic Centrum pro dopravu a energetiku
Czech Republic Koalice STOP HF
Europe End Ecocide in Europe
Europe Food & Water Europe
Europe Push Europe
Europe Via Campesina Europa
France Agir pour l’environnement
France Association Gaïa SOS Planète en Danger
France Association Le Cercle de Gindou
France Association Stop Forages Bugey Sud
France Association Stop Forages Bugey Sud (01)
France Association Unis Vers Un Milly Vert
France ATTAC France
France Bastagaz – Alès
France Collectif “Montpellier Littoral contre les gaz, pétrole de schiste!”
France Collectif “non gaz de schiste” Florac
France Collectif 07 Stop au Gaz et Huiles de Schiste
France Collectif 34 Grand Montpellier “Gaz de Schiste : Non Merci !”
France Collectif 91 Non au gaz et huile (pétrole) de schiste
France Collectif AJC
France Collectif ALDEAH
France Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de Schiste NON !
France Collectif citoyen Ile de France non aux gaz et pétrole de schiste
France Collectif Citoyen Anti-Gaz de Schiste Pézenas, Castelnau de Guers et Environs
France Collectif citoyen du Narbonnais Non gaz et pétrole de schiste
France Collectif de Vigilance CAMISGAZ
France Collectif des Dindons
France Collectif des Taupes énervées
France Collectif des Trois vallées non au gaz et pétrole de schiste
France Collectif du Pays Fertois, Non au pétrole de schiste
France Collectif Garrigue-Vaunage
France Collectif Gazpart 02
France Collectif Haut-Bugey, Non aux forages d’hydrocarbures
France Collectif Houille-ouille-ouille
France Collectif Isérois Stop GHRM38
France Collectif Lavilledieu
France Collectif Nantais pour l’accès aux soins pour tous
France Collectif Non au gaz de schiste Montélimar Drôme Sud
France Collectif non au gaz de schiste Roynac
France Collectif Stop au gaz de schiste 39
france Collectif Stop au Gaz de Schiste Anduze
France Collectif Stop Pétrole de Schiste Sud
France Collectif Touche pas à mon schiste
France Collectif viganais non au gaz de schiste, ni ici, ni ailleurs
France Collectif viganais non au gaz de schiste, Ni ici, Ni ailleurs
France Convergence Citoyenne pour la Transition Energétique
France Coordination Eau Ile-de-France
France CRI Nonville
France Écolectif Dégaze Gignac et Environs
France Fondation Danielle Mitterrand France Libertés
France FrenteAmplioOpositorFrance-Mexico-Dto
France Gaz de Schiste Non Merci – Clapiers
France Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France)
France Objectif Terre 77
Germany Aktionsbündnis No Fracking Mülheim an der Ruhr
Germany Aktionsbündnis No Moor Fracking
Germany BI “Kein CO2-Endlager Altmark”
Germany BI Fracking freies Hamburg
Germany BI gegen Gasbohren im Landkreis Rotenburg
Germany BI Gemeinsam gegen Gas- und Probebohrungen am Niederrhein/Rees
Germany BI Gesundheit und Klimaschutz Unterelbe
Germany BI-Frackloses Gasbohren im LK Rotenburg/Wümme
Germany BIGG-Werne
Germany BIST e.V. Herbern
Germany BUND Landesverband Niedersachsen e.V.
Germany Bürgerinitiative CO2ntra Endlager
Germany Bürgerinitiative Fracking freies Hamburg-Harburg
Germany Bürgerinitiative Fracking freies Hessen
Germany Bürgerinitiative für ein lebenswertes Korbach
Germany Bürgerinitiative gegen CO2-Endlager e.V. Schleswig-Holstein
Germany Bürgerinitiative gegen Gasbohren in Kleve
Germany IG NRÜ gegen Fracking e.V.
Germany IG Rees gegen Gasbohren e.V.
Germany IG Schönes Lünne
Germany Interessengemeinschaft Fracking-freies Artland e.V., Quakenbrück
Germany Interessengemeinschaft gegen Gasbohren in Hamminkeln/Niederrhein
Germany PowerShift
Germany urgewald e.V.
International Blue Planet Project
International Frack Free World – FFW
Ireland Action for Thoughtful Use of Natural Resources – ATUN
Ireland Carrick Against Fracking
Ireland Environmental Pillar
Ireland FÍS NUA
Ireland Fracking Free Clare
Ireland Fracking Free Cork
Ireland Fracking Free Ireland
Ireland Good Energies Alliance Ireland
Ireland Irish Citizens Party
Ireland Irish Doctors Environmental Association – IDEA
Ireland Keep Ireland Fracking Free
Ireland Love Ireland Ban Fracking
Ireland Love Leitrim
Ireland No Fracking Dublin
Ireland No Fracking Ireland
Ireland North West Network Against Fracking Sporting Rights Owners Association Ireland
Ireland Talamh
Ireland The Swans and the Snails Limited
Ireland United Farmers Association – UFA
Italy Associazione Bed and Breakfast “Parco Maiella Costa Trabocchi”
Italy Associazione Ernesto Ragazzoni (Orta)
Italy Invisible Cities APS
Lithuania Alliance
Lithuania Centre for Sustainable Development
Lithuania Green Policy Institute
Lithuania Lithuanian Green Movement
Lithuania Lithuanian Green Party
Lithuania Peasant and Green Party of Lithuania Association for environmental protection Terra Floria
Netherlands Burgerinitiatief Schaliegas Vrij Boxtel
Netherlands Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Netherlands Stichting Schaliegas Vrij Haaren
Netherlands Stichting Schaliegasvrij Nederland
Netherlands Transnational Institute
Northern Ireland Ban Fracking Fermanagh
Northern Ireland Fermanagh Fracking Awareness Network – FFAN
Northern Ireland NOTFOR$HALE – Belfast
Norway Transition Nesodden
Poland Citizens Affairs Institute
Poland Stowarzyszenie Ekologiczne EKO-UNIA ;
Poland Workshop for All Beings Association
Romania Academia Civica Bihor, Oradea
Romania Activisti fara frontiere (Activists without borders), Bucharest
Romania Asociatia Alburnus Maior (Rosia Montana)
Romania Asociatia Amicii Bucovinei, Campulung Moldovenesc
Romania Asociatia Art-Hoc, Oradea
Romania Asociatia Centrul pentru Studii si Initiativa Civica, Arad
Romania Asociatia Cetatenilor Abuzati din Romania, Iasi
Romania Asociatia LIFE, Oradea
Romania Asociatia Muriel, Vaslui
Romania Asociatia Proiect Moral, Oradea
Romania Asociatia Quantic, Bucharest
Romania Asociatia Romania Vie, Bucharest
Romania Asociatia Salvati Bucurestiul, Bucharest
Romania Asociatia SPEhRo, Iasi
Romania Casa de Cultura Permanenta, Cluj Napoca
Romania Centrul pentru Arii Protejate si Dezvoltare Durabila, Oradea
Romania DobroGeea, Mangalia
Romania Ecocivica, Bucharest
Romania ECOTOP, Oradea
Romania Ecotopia Romania Association
Romania Greenitiative, Mogosoaia
Romania Group for Iiniative of the Civil Society – GISC Barlad,1
Romania Grupul H.ARTA, Timisoara
Romania Informal group Civica Galati, Galati
Romania Informal group Solidaritate pentru Interesseförening för Rumäner, Sweden (NGO of the Romanian diaspora in Sweden)
Romania Liga Distributista “Ion Mihalache”, Bucharest
Romania Militia Spirituala, Bucharest
Romania Mining Watch Romania
Romania Neuer Weg, Fagaras
Romania Organizatia Romana Drepturile Omului
Romania Proveritas, Adevarul te face liber, Galati
Romania Rezistenta Pungesti, Pungesti
Romania Romania fara Ei, Bucharest
Romania Tarnat Kalotaszeg Durabil, Tarant
Romania Vama Verde, Vama Verde
Romania Verdeata Isteata, Cluj Napoca
Romania Vira, Barlad
Romania Zero Waste Romania
Serbia Stop Ecocide in Serbia
Slovakia Brečťan Nové Mesto nad Váhom
Slovakia Ekocentrum Sosna o.z.
Slovakia Priatelia Zeme – CEPA (FoE Slovakia)
Slovakia Združenie Slatinka
Spain Altermuatiba, Ermua (Bizkaia)
Spain Amigos de la Tierra España (FoE Spain)
Spain Arca Iberica
Spain Asamblea contra la Fractura Hidraulica de las Merindades
Spain Asamblea Fracking No Pinares ( Burgos)
Spain Asoc. Soriana para la Defensa y Est. de Naturaleza
Spain Asociación de Cultura Popular Alborada -Gallur
Spain Asociación El Colletero (Nalda, La Rioja)
Spain Asociación Trusilurri mundo piedra
Spain Confederación de Ecologistas en Acción
Spain Confederación Nacional del Trabajo – Teruel
Spain Grupo Antifracking del Norte palentino
Spain Grupo Arco Cinco Villas Aragon España
Spain Grupo de Energía y Dinámica de Sistemas, Universidad de Valladolid
Spain Grupo Gurruño, Atapuerca
Spain Grupo Gurruño, Burgos
Spain Informal group Salvemos Rosia Montana, Madrid
Spain Ingenieria sin Fronteras Andalucia
Spain Plataforma Andalucía Libre de Fracking
Spain Plataforma Aragón Sin Fractura
Spain Plataforma Asturiana Antifracking
Spain Plataforma ciudadana Zaragoza sin fractura
Spain Plataforma Fracking ez Bizkaia
Spain Plataforma Stop Fracking Extremadura
Spain Teruel sin Fractura
Spain Tierra Viva
Sweden AMFÖ Aktionsgruppen Mot Fossilgasutvinning På Öland
Sweden Heaven or sHell
Switzerland Collectif citoyen Val-de-Travers “Non aux forages d’hydrocarbures”
Switzerland Internationale Direkthilfe, Meisterschwanden
UK Barton Moss Community Protection Camp
UK Bromley Against Fracking
UK Caldicot Anti Fracking Alliance (South Wales)
UK Defend Lytham
UK East Kent Against Fracking
UK East Kent Against Fracking
UK Flatt Derbyshire
UK Frack Free Bristol
UK Frack Free Chew Valley
UK Frack Free Greater Manchester
UK Frack Free Lincolnshire
UK Frack Free Somerset
UK Frack Free South Yorkshire
UK Frack Free Wales
UK Frack Off Lanelli
UK Fracking Regs
UK Friends of the Earth Sheffield
UK Gas Field Free Mendip
UK Green Left
UK Keep Shepherdswell Well Action Group’ Kent
UK Kent Green Party
UK Kent Green Party
UK Lewes Aganst Fracking, East Sussex
UK Lewes Aganst Fracking, East Sussex
UK No Fracking in Balcombe Society
UK Oxfordshire Against Fracking
UK Pantybrad No and Frack-Free Wales
UK Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF)
UK Ribble Estuary Against Fracking
UK Safe Energy Wales (Swansea, South Wales)
UK Sheffield Climate Alliance
UK Swanage Team for prosperous environment
UK The Corner House
UK The Warrior’s Call – pagans united against fracking
UK Town Councillor for Bampton, Devon
UK Transition Sheffield
UK West Kent Against Fracking


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