Study: International regulation of fracking

When is a ban not a ban?

France and New York State both say that they have a ban on fracking, yet the legislation prohibiting fracking is very different in these areas.  Is a ban a prohibition on all hydrocarbon exploratory drilling? Or only the hydraulic fracturing** stage of natural gas extraction?  Should there be a difference between high volume and low volume hydraulic fracturing?

To find out more about what constitutes a “ban” on fracking, Cedric Stanghelllini, an EVS volunteer working with GEAI, has done a comparative study of the legislation regulating fracking in France, Germany, Spain, New York State, Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

His results are presented in separate pages for each state with links to PowerPoint presentations/Infographics.

In brief
  • FRANCE: Fracking is completely prohibited but pro-fracking lobbies want a relaxation of the rules.
  • GERMANY: Moratorium on fracking in place. Government proposed a bill to ban fracking in 2015,which has not been passed into law to date.
  • SPAIN: The Governments of some Autonomous Regions have issued decrees banning fracking but constitutionally, they do not have the power to exert a ban.
  • NEW YORK STATE: High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (over 30,000 gallons) prohibited. Is this a ban on fracking?
  • UK (England and Wales): The current Government promotes fracking and relaxes regulations that govern fracking.
  • NORTHERN IRELAND: Minister of Environment declared a presumption against fracking. Currently, exploratory drilling has started north of Belfast without an Environmental Impact Statement.

» There are many definitions of fracking. In this study, the term “fracking” describes the on-shore extraction of oil or gas from rock using high volume hydraulic fracturing.

» High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF) is a stage in oil or gas extraction where huge volumes (millions of gallons) of water, sand and chemicals, at explosive pressures, shatter rock and release the oil or gas.