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French Government ‘Totally Opposed’ to Fracking

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France opposes FrackingThe French government is “totally opposed” to hydraulic fracturing, a drilling process to produce natural gas and oil from shale, French Environment and Energy Minister Delphine Batho said.

“As it stands now this technique is risky for the environment and health and that is why France banned it,” Batho said today in Paris after a meeting between Prime Minister Jean- Marc Ayrault and environmental groups. “The prime minister confirmed we remain opposed to hydraulic fracturing. The position is perfectly clear.”

Hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking, is widely used in the U.S. The French parliament passed a law last year banning the process because of concern it can pollute drinking water, effectively halting plans by companies including Total SA (FP) to explore for shale gas in southern France. Divisions within the French government surfaced last week after Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg called for a debate on shale resources.

“The government is clearly leaving the door open,” Jean- Francois Julliard, director of Greenpeace France, said today after meeting with Ayrault. “If tomorrow the oil companies have another technique, I think it would be used. This worries us.”

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