Plaid Cymru the Party of Wales MEP Jill Evans has voted in favour of proposals to revise European Union legislation on environmental impact assessments (EIAs) in Strasbourg this week.
Jill Evans MEP, who represents the whole of Wales in the European Parliament, explained that the vote would explicitly make EIAs compulsory for non-conventional fossil fuel exploration and extraction, including shale gas. She said:
“It is natural that these projects should be subject to the same assessments as other infrastructure projects. The prospect of widespread fracking – the process for extracting shale gas – has alarmed many people in Wales, and this revision should ensure a basic standard of assessment and public participation.
“It is especially important that the voices of Welsh communities directly affected by any fracking are heard, especially when the UK government is so intent on encouraging subsidising fracking ventures.
“Most energy developments are not devolved. Wales has an abundance of renewable energy but the ‘dash for gas’ can only be detrimental to Wales fulfilling its potential as a major centre for renewable energy. Plaid Cymru is committed to making Wales a more sustainable nation. We have put forward plans to ensure that Wales has a supply of green, renewable energy. We have also called for all energy powers to be devolved so that we in Wales can manage our resources and plan for our future."
Jill Evans added that she had been contacted by many constituents who were concerned about the processes by which shale gas is extracted:
“This process, which involves pumping a cocktail of chemicals, some carcinogenic, deep underground, is unacceptable. I share the concerns of my constituents and I am opposed to fracking, as is Plaid Cymru. We want a moratorium on fracking until all safety concerns are allayed.
“There are also fears over contamination of groundwater as well as possible earth tremors, as the people of the Fylde coast near Blackpool experienced during hydraulic fracturing, the ‘fracking’ process.
“Wales’s natural resources are once again being plundered in the UK government’s headlong dash, with little or no benefit to our communities. Plaid Cymru does not wish to see a repeat of past errors and we want to work with local communities to develop our abundant resources.”