Fracking rules may tighten in Europe

The European Parliament narrowly approved legislation on Wednesday that will subject companies planning to use hydraulic fracturing to in-depth environmental audits.

The new rules will go to a final vote in the Parliament once the national European Union governments have agreed upon a final draft.

Energy companies with shale plans for the continent were not pleased to see that Europeans, represented by their elected officials, are deciding to buck the trend of reduced regulation of shale oil and gas development in the face of cripplingly high energy costs and anemic economic growth.

“In its current form, the proposed revision clearly goes against the trend to minimize the regulatory burden on business in order to facilitate the economic recovery and strengthen the competitiveness of our industrial core in the E.U.,” said Markus Beyrer, director general of industry group BusinessEurope.

Environmentalists, not surprisingly, came out in support of the draft bill:

"This will help prevent risky shale gas projects being bulldozed through in spite of environmental concerns and public will,” said Sandrine Bélier, spokeswoman for the Europe Écologie–The Greens political party.