France's fracking ban survives constitutional challenge

A graphic showing a "cluster" of shale gas wells
A graphic showing a "cluster" of shale gas wells GEP AFTP

France's Constitutional Council has struck down a bid to have the government's fracking ban declared unconstitutional, invoking the need to protect the environment to back up its decision.


US company Schuepbach Energy was behind the attempt to persuade France's highest legal body to rule two of the main articles in the law banning hydraulic fractuting, known as "fracking", incompatible with the constitution.

It argued that the law took the "precautionary principle", which allows a ban even if its object is not yet proved to be dangerous, too far.

But the Constitutional Council threw out the bid, ruling that the articles are "in accordance with the constitution".

Its statement cited the need to protect the environment to justify its decision.

Fracking, the process of pumping water, sand and chemicals into rock to release shale oil or gas, is accused of polluting the water table and even small earthquakes.

Its defenders argue that it is a relatively clean source of energy.


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