The UK is sitting on a bounty of shale, but the country is finding it exceedingly difficult to imitate America’s success with the resource. NIMBY-ism and misguided green concerns are stalling exploratory well drilling, but the Spectator reports that Brussels is also holding the country’s shale ambitions back:
Various environmental non-governmental organisations are trying to use the European Union to stop fracking. In a position paper put out last year, they declared that ‘the development of unconventional gas within the EU runs counter to EU treaty obligations’.
The secretary general of the NGO that authored that position paper, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), was allowed to sit in on a recent ministerial meeting of the EU’s Environmental Council and speak out against fracking. The Spectator writes, “If the [EEB] got its way, shale gas exploration in Britain and other EU states would be caught up in years of red tape.” The EEB’s presence at this recent council meeting could be a sign of future anti-shale policy from Brussels.The EU has already tried the renewable energy path, and its member states are reeling from the high electricity prices and strained budgets that have come as a result of heavy government subsidies. Britain’s relationship with the EU is already strained, and this disagreement over fracking will only drive the two sides further apart. That’s a shame, because for all of its flaws, the EU still has value for the UK—and Britain’s shale gas certainly has value for Europe’s environment.[EU and UK image courtesy of Shutterstock]