French Industry Minister Calls For ‘Clean’ Shale Gas Fracking
A split over France’s ban on shale gas development has emerged within the government, with one minister supporting an experimental type of “clean fracking.”
French Minister for Industrial Renewal Arnaud Montebourg, a member of President Francois Hollande’s Socialist Party, is calling on the president to reconsider his opposition to hydraulic fracturing due to what he calls the emergence of environmentally safer methods to extract natural gas trapped in shale rock.
Despite Hollande’s public reiteration in July of opposition, on environmental grounds, to any exploitation of shale gas during his tenure, Montebourg has renewed his efforts to push for a change in policy — touting a potential of a type of fracking that uses fluoropropane, rather than a mix of water and chemical additives, to break apart underground rock formations.
Other ministers, including Housing Minister Cecile Duflot of the Green Party, or EELV, and Socialist Ecology Minister Philippe Martin, remain staunchly opposed, revealing a split within governing the Socialist Green coalition.
“We can have disagreements in a majority coalition with our Green Party friends, but I do not accept that (subject of shale gas) should be the victim of a form of intellectual terrorism,” Montebourg said last week on the radio network Europe 1, pointing to the development of “clean alternatives” to traditional hydraulic fracturing.