Impacts of Shale Gas and Shale Oil Extraction on the Environment and on Human Health (application/pdf Object).

Impacts of Shale Gas and Shale Oil Extraction on the Environment and on Human Health–European Parliament

This study discusses the possible impacts of hydraulic fracturing on the
environment and on human health. Quantitative data and qualitative impacts
are taken from US experience since shale gas extraction in Europe still is in its
infancy, while the USA have more than 40 years of experience already having
drilled more than 50,000 wells. Greenhouse gas emissions are also assessed
based on a critical review of existing literature and own calculations. European
legislation is reviewed with respect to hydraulic fracturing activities and
recommendations for further work are given. The potential gas resources and
future availability of shale gas is discussed in face of the present conventional
gas supply and its probable future development.

 There is no comprehensive directive providing for a European mining law. A publicly
available, comprehensive and detailed analysis of the European regulatory
framework concerning shale gas and tight oil extraction is not available and should
be developed.
 The current EU regulatory framework concerning hydraulic fracturing, which is the
core element in shale gas and tight oil extraction, has a number of gaps. Most
importantly, the threshold for Environmental Impact Assessments to be carried out
on hydraulic fracturing activities in hydrocarbon extraction is set far above any
potential industrial activities of this kind, and thus should be lowered substantially.
 The coverage of the water framework Directive should be re-assessed with special
focus on fracturing activities and their possible impacts on surface water.
 In the framework of a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA), a thorough cost/benefit analysis
could be a tool to assess the overall benefits for society and its citizens. A
harmonized approach to be applied throughout EU27 should be developed, based on
which responsible authorities can perform their LCA assessments and discuss them
with the public.
 It should be assessed whether the use of toxic chemicals for injection should be
banned in general. At least, all chemicals to be used should be disclosed publicly,
the number of allowed chemicals should be restricted and its use should be
monitored. Statistics about the injected quantities and number of projects should be
collected at European level.
 Regional authorities should be strengthened to take decisions on the permission of
projects which involve hydraulic fracturing. Public participation and LCAassessments
should be mandatory in finding these decisions.
 Where project permits are granted, the monitoring of surface water flows and air
emissions should be mandatory.
 Statistics on accidents and complaints should be collected and analysed at European
level. Where projects are permitted, an independent authority should collect and
review complaints.
 Because of the complex nature of possible impacts and risks to the environment and
to human health of hydraulic fracturing consideration should be given to developing
a new directive at European level regulating all issues in this area comprehensively

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