A group of 25 Greenpeace activists from seven countries on Monday staged a protest in Pungesti, at the site of the exploratory shale gas well owned by U.S. company Chevron, pressing for a ban on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction, reads a release of the environmental organization on Monday.
The activists from Romania, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany staged a peaceful protest and declared a quarantine zone around the Chevron well, forming a human chain at the entrance of the Chevron frackingm site, and then chaining themselves to the fence surrounding the well and held up banners with the messages: “Pungesti — Anti-Chevron Quarantine Area”, “NO to Hydraulic Fracturing”, “Stop the Abuses in Pungesti!”
In April this year, Chevron started drilling its first official shale gas exploratory well (there are fearsm of others, done quietly, hidden from the public scrutiny, in other parts of Romania). Chevron also plans to install other wells in the neighboring villages. The company obtained the environmental agreements for four more rigs in the county of Vaslui: Paltinis (Bacesti), Silistea (Pungesti), Popeni (Gagesti) and Puiesti; for the latter the Vaslui County Council has also issued the necessary building permit.
So far, 13 local councils in the County of Vaslui (Alexandru Vlahuta, Bacani, Coroiesti, Dumesti, Gherghesti, Pochidia, Perieni, Pogana, Puiesti, Tutova and Vinderei) adopted decisions banning shale gas exploration and exploitation.
Chevron Romania also received three exploration, development and exploitation farm-out agreements for three blocks in Adamclisi, Costinesti and Vama Veche, located in the South and South-West of Constanta County, bordering Bulgaria, which has a ban on fracking dating back to January 2012.
Greenpeace CEE Romania, alongside other non-governmental organizations, challenged in court Chevron’s four exploration / development / exploitation shale gas fracking farm-out agreements for the blocks in Vama Veche, Adamclisi, Costinesti and Barlad.
In Romania, several local councils issued decisions to ban fracking based on the law on public local administration that confers the authority to decide on the environmental and development policy of the administrative unit. The said decisions were challenged by prefectures (the representatives of the Government at th county level) and are pending before courts in the counties of Vaslui, Iasi, Arad, Bihor and Suceava.
On the other hand, the highest court of the State of New York ruled on June 30, 2014 that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing, acknowledging the towns’ authority to ban fracking through land use regulations.