On Sunday, anti-fracking activists in Romania took to the streets of 60 cities in Romania, and several cities outside the country (such as New York), to protest hydraulic fracturing, and calling for a ban on the practice. Since my last report on Romania, where we learned the government is allowing fracking operations to start all around the country, the activists have been collecting information and conducted a few small-scale protests. As a testament to the growing movement against fracking in Romania, over 100 NGO’s participated in organizing protests large and small on April 6, a National Day of Protest against hydraulic fracturing.
The demands include
- Legal prohibition of hydraulic fracturing in unconventional hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation, including shale gas.
- Cancellation government decisions that were illegally approved exploration-exploitation agreements for shale gas development.
- Respecting the will of local communities and transparent decision making.
These demands stem from the secretive nature of deploying Fracking in Romania. When I first learned of the anti-fracking protests in Romania back in December, it was presented as something occurring in one tiny village along the Romania-Moldova border (Pungesti). Chevron was supposed to be the drilling the first well in Romania in which to perform Fracking, and that the residents of Pungesti were fighting a brave fight to completely stop Fracking in Romania.
In Pungesti, the Mayor allegedly performed an illegal transfer of land to Chevron, against the express wishes of the local population, on which the company is drilling in order to start exploratory fracking operations.
But what we’ve learned since is that fracking operations are being deployed across Romania, and in most cases the operations are being quietly set up. In some cases, the local populations were lied to as to the purpose of drilling operations.
The Romanian government’s actions are strongly supporting the oil companies, and are widely called anti-Democratic – meaning that laws and human rights are being flouted in the name of pushing a pro-Fracking agenda in Romania. For example, in Pungesti the government crackdown was very severe, imposing travel restrictions so harsh the people were afraid to leave their houses at night, had difficulty taking their livestock to pasture, and couldn’t meet in groups larger than 3 people.
According to the StopFracturare website, Romania’s Petroleum Law (no. 238/2004) does not allow fracking. Of the possible blocks of land Romania is looking to lease to oil companies for fracking operations, 10 agreements have been signed. Of those, only three are “declassified” and were signed by Chevron for land in Dobrogea. The other 7 agreements are all “classified” due to trade secrets concerns.
That website is an excellent resource for the anti-fracking point of view in Romania.
As for today’s protests …
Shortly before the protest, actor Mihai Gruia Sandu issued a video in which he asked
“When your water will be poisoned and your air will be unbreathable, children and grandchildren, whether they be here or you will be simply ask you what you do to stop all this, … Children and grandchildren will ask if you will be here, or if they are simply what have you done to stop all this and that you will respond? I stayed home and watched on television as caste sellers and robbers nation were enriched by selling your future, forcing you to crawl over piles of rubbish and toxic tailings, no future, no hope, no culture, no joy, no life? What else you could respond? Stayed at home and watched TV … ”
The protesters seek to protect Romania’s environment from the degradation they hear has happened in areas where fracking is common. “We all go out to the streets, peasants and townspeople, people of different ethnicities and beliefs, in the country and in the Diaspora, to defend ourselves with land, water and air. Out in the street to say bluntly that we give and we will defend the right to life, health, future. In Pungesti work Chevron is held under guard Gendarmerie, illegality and dangers of fracturing being ignored to the detriment of the national interest and people’s lives. Join us in the hardest battle that citizens have led the fight for survival in the face of a political class that protects criminal and illegitimate interests persecutes citizens entitled to defend their lives and future, ”
According to reports I’ve seen (the links below) the largest rallies were in Arad – where 1,500 were joined by political leaders including several Mayors and a former Agriculture Minister – and about 500 people in Vaslui, the capitol of the state which contains Pungesti – about 150 in Barlad, which was also joined by several political leaders – and about 200 in Bucharest at University Square.
Protests in over 60 cities in Romania against shale gas
National Day of Protest Anti-fracking (Video)
Constance joined other 60 cities and protested against shale gas
anti-system demonstrations against the wind. Weather and “times” inappropriate mitingiştilor
Protests against shale drilling by hydraulic fracturing in Bucharest and several large cities in the country
Protests against shale gas today, in 60 localities
Sibiu protests against shale gas exploration and exploitation
Over 300 people protest against shale gas Vaslui
“Your children will ask” – Mihai Gruia Sandu call actor, anti fracking
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