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Written by Maria Olteanu
Nuclearelectrica, the Romanian state-owned nuclear company running the only nuclear plant in Romania, with 2 reactors and planning to build 2 more, with Chinese investors) has commissioned a study to analyse the impact of the fracking activities proposed by Chevron, which has 3 perimeters for shale gas south of the nuclear plant, on the nuclear plant in Cernavoda, in the South-Eastern region of Romania, Constanta county.The study has found that fracking might have an impact on the power plant and has warned against any fracking activities within a radius of 100 km around it. It is for the first time that a voice from the energy sector in Romania dares to speak out regarding fracking.
The company decided to commission the study following the massive public debate started in Romania on the issue of fracking and the concerns raised by the civil society around the issue of fracking and shale gas. The study was carried out by CITON Bucuresti during 2014, “Impact assessment of shale gas extraction on the seismicity of the CNE Cernavodă site and on the zonal tectonics and hydrology”. The research was financed with public funding provided by the National Authority for Research and Development. (more…)
The Romanian antifracking groups have received the article in the New York Times with massive disappointment for the low journalistic quality and the poor documenting of the author. What is more astonishing, he even traveled to Romania in order to write the article, which looks entirely like a piece of propaganda paid by the fracking industry, than an article in one of the biggest newspapers in the world. The article does not mirror any of the opinions of the antifracking activists, it is just a compilation of gossips and allegation which no one bothered to prove. Therefore the reaction of the Romanian antifracking Groups was quick and argumentative: an open letter was soon drafted and signed by 35 groups in Romania and outside Romania, but made out of Romanian expats. Here is the wording of this letter:
Dear Mr. Higgins,
We have read your article about the antifracking activism in Romania and we were staggered to find such lack of journalism in one of the most prestigious papers in the world. What a shame! You tried to discredit the Romanian antifrackingmovement based on pure speculations, suspicions, allegations and “circumstantial evidence” only, that yourself admit in the body of the article. Your title makes an accusation that you later refute by admitting that there’s no proof for the allegations that Russia is behind the protests against Chevron in Pungesti and Romania in general. Still, by doing so you’ve empowered the Romanian media to further discredit our justified fight for a clean environment. (more…)
Written By Maria Olteanu, Frack Free Group, Bucharest, for the book Global Resistance to fracking, coordinated by Samuel Martin-Sosa, Ecologistas in accion, Spain
Pungesti is a municipality in the Romanian NE county of Vaslui, considered as one of the poorest in Romania. It consists of 9 villages with a total population of little over 3000 inhabitants, mostly consisting of self-sufficient farmers and small scale farmers, with agricultural production focused mainly on cereals and raising cattle. Due to its relatively long distance to the next bigger city, around one hour drive, the job opportunities are rather scarce. The available jobs are mainly unskilled jobs during the agricultural season, and the youth tends to migrate to bigger cities, in search of jobs. Yet the elderly population consists mainly of self-sufficient farmers, which makes them heavily dependent on their water and their land staying clean. They have always grown their own food and, due to the relative poverty, they were kept away from the mechanisms of the consumerism and waste, leading a life mostly in harmony with the nature, like most of the Romanian countryside.
This place turned from one normal backwater village in the region of Moldova into one of the hotspots of the environmental fight, whose name became well-known throughout Romania and even abroad in 2013. (more…)
Last days, Bucharest hosted a big energy lobby event, where all the American speakers have told underlined “how threatened Romania is by Russia”, that we need to invest in a stronger army to protect us from Russia, as no army in the region will help us and, of course, to untap the ressources that we have (a speech that’s now more and more common in Romania, whenever we have guests from the other side of the ocean, and that tends to be very often lately).
In this interview in the Adevarul article, you will see what type of propaganda the Romanian people are constantly exposed to. Please note that Romania is now in the run for the presidential elections, and that all the candidates with chances of winning are more or less explicit pro-fracking. (more…)
ManiFEST Press Release, First Edition: “Don’t Mess with Us”
Bucharest, 12th September 2014
For a few days, between 6th and 8th of September, the village of Puiesti (Romania) was uplifted from an unobtrusive Vaslui village to a center of activism. Several organizations and informal action groups, including “FrackFree Group” – Bucharest”, “Civic intervention Group” – Braşov, “Resistance Group Puieşti” and “Resistance Group Pungeşti”, with the support of groups such as “Oastea lui Ştefan” from Vaslui, “Resistance Bârlad” and volunteers from all over Romania and Europe (Greece, UK, Bulgaria, Rep. Moldova), gathered to create the first edition of the ManiFEST festival (for a world without fracking), entitled playfully but strongly: “Cu noi nu te PUIesti” (Don’t mess with us). The festival took place in a symbolic space, owned by village councillor David Roma, located close to the perimeter where Chevron holds all permits required to build an exploration well for shale gas. (more…)
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Originally posted on 17.06.2014, on Health and Environment Alliance’s page:
Sandra Steingraber spoke about the health impacts of fracking at a public gathering in Pungesti, Romania on 11 June 2014, just prior to the walk along the village road that prompted police brutality.
On Wednesday 11 June, I traveled to the remote community of Pungeşti in eastern Romania’s Vaslui County. Rising from a field bordering the village of Siliştea, near the only public road in and out of the area, is a drill rig installed by Chevron for purposes of shale gas “exploration.” Villagers told me that drilling had commenced in May. This rig—the first shale gas well in all of Romania—went on line in spite of an intense, months-long oppositional campaign by locals that was joined and supported by activists from all over Romania. (more…)