CURITIBA, BRAZIL -- The cities of Arapongas and São Manoel do Paraná, in the state of Paraná, have approved in the past week the prohibition of the exploitation of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing, an unconventional method known as fracking. With them, a total of 72 cities in Brazil have freed themselves from one of the most harmful fossil fuel extraction practices for water, the environment and society.
This decision is unprecedented in Brazil because the legislative chambers mobilised against hydraulic fracturing even before the cities' subsoil was sold for fracking. Many of these local bans are a result of the debates, lectures, seminars and public hearings that the No Fracking Brazil campaign has been holding in the last three years in several regions throughout Brazil to warn the population about the risks and impacts of fracking.
“It is important to show the fracking entrepreneurs that people will not passively accept the destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry,” said Nicole Figueiredo de Oliveira, 350.org Latin America Regional Team Leader. “We will continue empowering the local communities to resist this government’s offensive and urging public officials to invest in renewable energy projects instead of expanding fossil fuel extraction, so that we can have a sustainable, secure future”, she added.
Auction rounds to sell licenses for commercial exploitation of shale gas by fracking have been held since 2013. With neither transparency nor wide consultation with civil society, the Brazilian government, through the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels (ANP), is carrying out the proposal of selling the subsoil to the fossil fuels industry.
In the 12th round, more than 200 blocks for exploration were offered in 15 Brazilian states, endangering the lives of millions of Brazilians, as well as the main water and forest reserves, and agricultural and cattle areas. Thanks to the campaign’s actions, the Federal Public Ministry issued injunctions suspending the effects of the auctions in at least six states.
Fracking is already destroying several places in locations such as the states of Texas and Louisiana in the United States, and the region of Vaca Muerta, in the Argentinean Patagonia, one of the world’s largest shale gas deposits. In the United States, besides the trail of destruction, fracking is causing hundreds of companies to fall into bankruptcy, pressured by a high demand for compensation, the high cost of technology and pressure from the American society against the use and pollution of water, against the radioactive waste and the intense earthquakes recorded.
Opposition to fracking is growing worldwide across cities, counties and states where people and local governments are organizing to prevent fracking from taking place in their territories. Due to its severe and irreversible impacts, and to the legacy of devastation that fracking leaves wherever it is used, this technique has also been banned in countries like Germany, Scotland, France, Northern Ireland and Bulgaria.
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