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.