Bulgarian NE City to Hold Referendum on Shale Gas

Society » ENVIRONMENT | September 4, 2011, Sunday // 11:28| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bulgarian NE City to Hold Referendum on Shale Gas Citizens protesting the exploration for shale gas in Bulgaria in the Black Sea city of Varna. Photo by BGNES

Town councilors of the north eastern Bulgarian city of Dobrich have decided to hold a local referendum on exploring for shale gas in the region.

The exact date of the poll will be determined at a sitting of the council on September 20.

In June the Bulgarian government gave US energy giant Chevron a permit to prospect for shale gas in a large section of Dobrudzha, in the north east of the country.

Environmentalists and local residents fear that the technique, which involves pumping unspecified chemicals into the ground at high pressure - so-called hydraulic fracturing - might pollute soils and groundwater in Dobrudzha, one of the most fertile regions in Bulgaria.

Shale gas extraction has been a controversial technique, after a number of wells in the US - the country that pioneered it - leaked, causing massive damage to drinking water.

The US government is currently holding a massive survey of the method and the need to regulate it, while in July France became the first country in the world to impose an all-out ban on it, after protests from local residents.

Wednesday anti-shale gas protests were held in Dobrich, as well as in nearby Black Sea major city Varna, and in capital Sofia.

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Tags: shale gas, Chevron, Dobrudzha, Dobrich, Varna, sofia, protests, pollution, water, US, France
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