In June 2011, after numerous protests by environmental groups, the French parliament voted to ban the controversial technique for extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, due to potential risks to the environment. U.S-based firm Schuepbach Energy had challenged on four counts a ban, which led to two of its exploration permits being cancelled in southern France. In October 2012, France decided to maintain a ban on fracking until there is proof that shale gas exploration won’t harm the environment or “massacre” the landscape. In October 2013, the Constitutional Court considered the observations submitted by the Government and the environmental NGOs and ruled that in imposing the ban, lawmakers were pursuing a legitimate goal in the general interest of protecting the environment and noted differences between geothermal and shale gas exploration techniques. The court also rejected an argument that the ban was imposed against property rights.
France - Constitutional Court - Schuepbach Energy LLC (Decision n° 2013-346 QPC) - Link to decision
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Publisher:UNECE / Task Force on Access to Justice
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