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Friends of the Earth Spain launched a campaign titled “Municipalities Free From Fracking” aiming to raise awareness among local authorities on the huge impacts caused by the use of the fracking technique on the land, water, people and climate.
The idea is also to encourage authorities and citizens to be part of the growing movement of people rejecting fracking in Spanish territories, with municipalities declaring themselves free from this activity and in favor of an energy model change.
The coordinator of the Climate and Energy campaign of Friends of the Earth Spain, Hector de Prado, told Real World Radio that despite the “fracking free” declaration is symbolic, because it is not legally binding, it represents “an extremely powerful message to the industry that shows that the Spanish people don´t want fracking in their territory”.
The Spanish environmental organization has created a new website for the campaign launched on March 25: http://municipioslibresdefracking.org/ There, they explain that fracking is a technique used to extract non conventional gas, such as shale gas, based on injecting millions of litres of water, sand and chemical substances into underground land, aiming to recover the gas stored kilometers deep. “First you have to drill vertically, and then horizontally to inject this chemical mix at high pressure to break the shale underground so that the gas it contains can flow back to the surface of the well”.
Currently, there are between 400 and 500 municipalities in Spain that have declared themselves free from fracking, ever since in early 2010 the companies started exploration works to search for non conventional gas in the country.
According to Hector de Prado, there are currently 60 to 70 exploration permits granted in Spain. It is not known whether theses permits are targeted to find non conventional gas, because the law in Spain does not require companies to state what is they are looking for. However, Friends of the Earth Spain believes these are projects to develop fracking activities due to the type of companies involved and their features.
In addition, de Prado explained that Spain is extremely dependent on fossil fuels imported from other countries and the government is “obsessed” with breaking with this dependence, and therefore fracking is seen in a favorable light.
According to a press release issued by Friends of the Earth Spain, the US experience, which has been using fracking for over 10 years, shows huge impacts on water, air and the health of the people. Prado also highlighted the emission of methane gas, one of the most important green house gases (that cause climate change).
Meanwhile, in the European Union, despite the reports commissioned in the past years by the Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safetyf the European Parliament or by the European Commission itself, where it is clearly recognized that fracking would have devastating effects on the territory and negative impacts on health and climate, countries such as the UK and Poland, in addition to Spain, are promoting this activity.
“Contrary to what investors and large extractive companies think, we believe that these valuable natural resources should be used in a fair and sustainable way”, said the Prado. And he added that his organization is demanding to end “the addiction to fossil fuels” and will continue promoting renewable energy and energy saving. “Because it is known that the best energy is the energy we don´t use”, he concluded.
La oposición a la minería debe entenderse como la lucha por los derechos que esa actividad no respeta, pues “cada derecho que se le otorga a una empresa, es un derecho que se le resta a una comunidad”, asegura el coordinador del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL), César Padilla.
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