Energy. Environment. Economy.

Polish Fractivists Occupy European Shale Gas Conference

Shale gas drilling in Poland has just begun. So far, only about 11 wells have been drilled, according to an article in Upstreamonline. But Polish protestors stormed the “Shale Gas World Europe 2011″ conference last week. In flash-mob fashion, they dumped golf balls on the floor of the conference hall and hung a banner with an image of a fist with the middle finger up, and depicted as a drill rig. At the top, were the words “Frack You.”

All of this appears in a Youtube video posted by the activists. They sat down on stage, before what appears to be an empty conference hall, and refused to leave. According to a press release 11 people were arrested and are facing up to a year in prison if convicted on trespassing charges.

It looks like Polish lawmakers could have consulted those in Harrisburg now debating the merits of local pre-emption. Here’s a message from the Polish Flash-Mobbers on fracking:

“This practice has been legally sanctioned by the new law on geology and mining, according to which regional governments and local communities are excluded from decision making processes that concern gas and oil exploration. This same law renders geological resources a “public good” under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state, which sold shale gas concessions without consulting local people.”

In keeping with the Solidarnosc tradition, the Polish activists aligned themselves with drilling opponents in the U.S. and U.K.

“From Pomerania to Philadelphia, from Syracuse to Sulęczyno, from Lewino to
Lancashire, residents of drilling towns have experienced the consequences
of hydraulic fracturing and are demanding the same thing: an end to their
dispossession and a halt to the tragic degradation of the environment.”

But according to a November report by Bloomberg, shale gas will not likely produce abundant gas as in the Marcellus. It costs three times as much to drill a well in Poland as it does in the U.S., water is scarce, and the flow-rates of the newly sunk wells are low.


  • Nick Grealy

    I find it bizarre that although I was at that conference, the only report in English or Polish  comes from a respected organisation like NPR merely repeating the allegations of something they found on YouTube.  A key theme of the conference was gaining public acceptance .The protestors were even invited to stay and debate, but as in the US and UK, they don’t want to infect themselves by joining in a fact based discussion.
    I said at the conference that a key theme is that no one trusts anyone anymore.  Governments, priests, business, bankers, rating agencies and especially scientists:  any “expert” at all is considered, especially among the more paranoid, as being out for themselves.
    In Europe, we are proud to believe in society.  We aren’t suspicious when governments interfere in our lives by forcing us to put our wallets away at the doctors, insist that education is free, spend money on public transport and infrastructure and worst of all, demand that we take five weeks paid vacation a year.  So when scientists and government tell us that tracking is safe,  we look at their  track record and generally believe them.  No government is perfect, but they generally don’t lie.Two points:  In Europe,  resources are a public good in that they belong to the state.  Royalties go direct to taxes where they are used for everyones’s benefit as above.  Given the choice of shale or benefit cuts, most people don’t choose the latter.
    Secondly:  Do you realise how inaccurate and insensitive it is to mention fracking protesters as heir to Solidarity, or even in the same breath? What next?  Josh Fox as fighting the last battle of the Warsaw Ghetto?  Mark Ruffalo as heir to Sitting Bull?

    The anti fracking brigade in Europe often follows the same model of PA.  Country people really know how resilient the earth is.  They’ve been living off the land for two hundred years and have been putting fertiliser and fences all over the land:  it survived and they got by.  City people have an unrealistic view of country that they want to protect, not the country itself. City people worked in banks that raped the earth worldwide in the name of capitalism, but come the weekend or a comfortable retirement, they suddenly become organic?  Most aren’t that hypercritical, but enough are to steal the resources from local people and hide them.

    Look within the communities and the vast amount of “local” opposition to fracking comes from  weekenders or retirees who simply don’t want any development at all.  Josh Fox is a classic example.  Why did he turn down $100K, a figure that would solve his neighbours financial problems for ever?  Simply because he could.  He isn’t a permanent year round resident and the certainly doesn’t perform anything his neighbours would recognise as work.
    Yet he demands that his neighbours impoverish themselves by rejecting shale money.  He thinks it is blood money.  Where did his money come from?  Apart from Moms and Pops?

  • Luke Ashley

    Don`t listen to the pro fracker. Get the REAL info here.

    Global Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

  • Luke Ashley

    “So when scientists and government tell us that tracking is safe,  we look at their  track record and generally believe them.  No government is perfect, but they generally don’t lie.”When you`re not full of crap, you`re quite funny. The more we/people know, the funnier you seem to be.

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