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Le Temps, Switzerland

Fracking: France and the
United States, So
Close and Yet So Far

By Stéphane Bussard

Translated By Daniel Pick

27 November 2012

Edited by Lau­ren Gerken

Switzerland - Le Temps - Original Article (French)

France and the United States are two countries with two cultures. The former prohibits shale gas extraction by hydrofracturing, primarily for environmental reasons, and is currently going through a serious economic crisis. The latter is experiencing an extraordinary oil and gas boom that has permitted the country to maintain growth superior to that of Europe. Natural gas has been so abundant in the United States that the price has dropped, causing many American businesses to return to U.S. soil. Whether the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania or the Bakken formation in North Dakota, environmental questions have been raised by activists, but they have barely halted the developments that would allow the United States to become a net exporter. All along the Gulf of Mexico, they are transforming hydrocarbon import terminals into liquid gas export terminals.

But this picture is deceiving. According to the New York Times, in Longmont, Colorado, a small conservative town at the foot of the Rockies, residents voted to prohibit the exploitation of shale gas by fracking. Oil and gas companies, however, injected more than half a million dollars to fight the ban. It was in vain. Some already believe that Longmont risks creating ripples, so to speak, across the country. Supporters of the ban speak of a “popular uprising” against a race of black and blue. They feel that the environmental impact on the nearby community is negative.

The mayor of Longmont is convinced that supporters of the ban “didn’t think this through.”* The local authorities are bothered, and the state of Colorado will likely file a complaint against Longmont, believing that it is the only one that can legislate on the issue. France and the United States are sometimes in the same fight!

* Editor's note: The original quotation, accurately translated, could not be verified.



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