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France Becomes First Country to Ban Fracking

On June 30, France became the first country to institute a national ban on natural gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”).  The bill passed France’s lowest legislative chamber, the National Assembly, on June 21 and on June 30, the Senate followed suit.

The Senate vote split 176 to 151 with the majority-holding Conservative Party voting in support of the bill.  As reported by Le Monde and other French media outlets, the Socialist Party voted overwhelmingly against the bill because they believed it did not go far enough.  According to the Socialist Party, the version of the bill that passed is problematic because of potential loopholes that leave open the possibility for other drilling techniques in France’s shale formation; they supported an earlier version of the bill that banned all gas and oil development in the shale deposits.

This news comes directly on the heels of New Jersey’s vote to ban hydrofracking.  On June 29, the measure passed both the Assembly and the Senate, banning the use of hydrofracking from the New Jersey portions of the Utica shale formation.  If Republican Governor Chris Christie signs the bill, it will be the first statewide ban on fracking in the United States.

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