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Greenpeace activists from 7 countries stage protest at site of Chevron exploratory shale gas well in Pungesti

A group of Greenpeace activists from seven countries on Monday staged a protest in Pungesti, at the site of the exploratory shale gas well owned by U.S. company Chevron, pressing for a ban on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction, reads a release of the environmental organization sent on Monday.

The 25 Greenpeace activists from Romania, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Germany staged a peaceful protest and declared a quarantine zone around the Chevron well.

They also formed a human chain at the entry into the Chevron perimeter, they chained themselves to the fence surrounding the well and held up banners with the messages: „Pungesti — Anti-Chevron Quarantine Area”, „NO to Hydraulic Fracturing”, „Stop Abuse in Pungesti!”

In April this year, Chevron installed its first shale gas exploratory well and according to Greenpeace, it plans to install other wells in the neighboring villages. The U.S. company obtained the environmental permits for the following sites: Paltinis (Bacesti), Silistea (Pungesti), Popeni (Gagesti) and Puiesti; for the latter the Vaslui County Council has also issued the relevant building permit.

So far, 11 local councils in the County of Vaslui (Alexandru Vlahuta, Bacani, Coroiesti, Dumesti, Gherghesti, Pochidia, Perieni, Pogana, Puiesti, Tutova and Vinderei) adopted decisions banning shale gas exploration and exploitation.

Chevron Romania also received three exploration, development and exploitation farm-out agreements for blocks in Adamclisi, Costinesti and Vama Veche, located in Constanta County.

Greenpeace CEE Romania, alongside other non-governmental organizations, challenged in court Chevron’s four exploration / development / exploitation shale gas fracking farm-out agreements for the blocks in Vama Veche, Adamclisi, Costinesti and Barlad.

Hydraulic fracturing is prohibited under moratorium in two European countries, 15 U.S. states, parts of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria.

In Romania, several local councils issued decisions to ban fracking based on the law on public local administration that confers the authority to decide on the environmental and development policy of the administrative unit. The said decisions were challenged by prefectures and are pending before courts in Vaslui, Iasi, Arad, Bihor and Suceava.

On the other hand, the highest court of the State of New York ruled on June 30, 2014 that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing, acknowledging the towns’ authority to ban fracking through land use regulations.

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