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International: Bulgaria Bans Shale Gas Drilling; U.S.: Fast Against Fracking

January 19, 2012

After environmental protesters took to the streets throughout Bulgaria calling for a ban on shale gas drilling, Bulgarian MPs voted overwhelmingly for a ban on Wednesday. Bulgaria has become the second European nation, after France, to ban fracking. BBC reports that Bulgaria revoked a fracking permit previously granted to U.S. energy giant Chevron. Excerpt below; read the full report here.

Bulgarian rally in Sofia against fracking, 14 Jan 12Bread loaves symbolised nature at an anti-fracking rally in the Bulgarian capital Sofia

Bulgaria has become the second European country after France to ban exploratory drilling for shale gas using the extraction method called “fracking”.
News about the Bulgarian protests is also getting around via Youtube videos, with several posted on Texas Sharon’s “Bluedaze” blog headlined, “Bulgaria: No Fracking Way!”.  Facebook posts add flavor to the story, such as this one which re-posted a news article, “Over 200 People Marched Against the Shale Gas in Shumen,” with an accompanying photo of protesters carrying a coffin. Excerpts, complete with awkward translations from Bulgarian into English, introduce a new term into the lexicon: “hydraulic shock”:

Over 200 people gathered in front of Central Park in Shumen, to support the national protest against the extraction of shale gas.

The protest began at 11am and went in the form of a procession that started from Central Park, went through the pedestrian zone boulevard “Slavic” and the District Administration and complete the theater.

People of all ages expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision of government [to permit exploratory drilling] and chest [coffin], according protester ashtate symbolizes the future of the nation, if not taken into account the damage that [can be caused by shale gas]. Organizers of the protest invited mummers to “dispel evil forces” and those in power finally to heed the demands of people.

Protesters demanding a moratorium on [their government’s decision to permit] exploration and production of shale gas technology hydraulic shock.

Back in the U.S., even while tens of thousands of people have taken action to successfully maintain the moratorium on fracking in the Delaware River Basin, one man began fasting against fracking in New York State. Here is a moving interview with him, “In The Clearing Stands A Boxer: One Man’s Fight Against Fracking” in which Mr. McElligott, a 53-year old former boxer, a U.S. citizen, married with four children, explains why he’s undertaken a hunger strike to prevent high-volume fracking from coming to New York State:

Mr. McElligott made many attempts to engage local political officials, on both sides of the aisle, in a dialogue on the potential hazards of this process. He was uniformly rebuffed. He wrote them repeatedly to no avail, and likewise wrote to his neighbors to explain the dangers of fracking.

Finally, when all other avenues had been exhausted, Mr. McElligott made his decision. He would lay himself upon the gears and the wheels, even as it put him in great personal peril.

From the national uprising in Bulgaria to one man’s hunger strike in New York State, the more people understand both the acute and the long-term, cumulative devastation caused by high-volume hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling, the more we resist. Don’t go into a state of hydraulic shock. Pick the tactics and strategies that best suit you and your region, build the resistance, and win.

7 Comments
  1. January 19, 2012 11:01 am

    The protests in Bulgaria against shale gas drilling started in August 2011, our initiative started in Facebook group. It was a result of the Ministry’s decision to allow Chevron exploration of shale gas for 5 years in the most fertile area (Dobrudzha). This was done without the consent of the local community and without any environmental assessment. Then we found out that one-third of our land is given to oil and gas concessions without any clarification if they would drill for shale gas. The government continually was hiding information and the culmination of our anger and even furiosity was this Saturday – 14th January. In twelve Bulgarian cities thousands of people rallied the streets, Bulgarians abroad in London, Paris and Copenhagen as well. In my town Varna over a thousand people went out. I was really proud to be part of this event. Here is a link with photos (and clips in the end) for the protests http://shalegas-bg.eu/2012/01/17/hilqdi-bulgari-protest-shistov-gaz/ But the moratorium, although a great victory for the common residents, is just part of the battle. There should be changes in the law that will ensure there will be control and information for the oil and gas concessions. We expect the goverment to reveal all companies that were/are going to drill for shale gas – such as Direct Petroleum and Park Place Energy (and most probably Overgas). I am really glad that your site exists, we translated some of the information for shale gas in our website (shalegas-bg.eu).🙂

  2. Iris Marie Bloom permalink
    January 19, 2012 4:12 pm

    Teodora, thanks for your incredibly successful and important work and for the extra information; I certainly hope people read your comment. And thanks for letting us know the information we post is useful — people can type in a term into the “search” function and get that much closer to the information they need. Information is power, and we all have more power than we know, as you have just — pun intended — demonstrated.

  3. Shirley permalink
    March 21, 2012 10:05 pm

    Well done to all the protesters. What is happening Poland is unbelevable + the FRACKING attitude of the EU commission is inhuman

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