PARIS — French lawmakers opened debate on Tuesday on proposals to ban a method for extracting oil and gas deposits from shale because of environmental concerns, throwing up the first serious stumbling block to firms that want to use the practice.
Looking with alarm at the experience in the United States, where shale gas is booming, even members of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s governing conservative party have come out against the practice, known as hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped deep underground under high pressure to free scattered pockets of oil and gas from dense rock formations.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, “is not something we want to use in France,” Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the environment minister, said on RMC Radio.
I can't believe that the French don't have a burning desire to turn their nation into "the European Texas of natural-gas drilling," or discover the pleasures of flaming tap water. Haven't they heard of massive campaign contributions?
** Yes, actual French people do not say this.