France’s constitutional court has upheld a ban on hydraulic fracturing, ruling that the law against the energy exploration technique known as “fracking” is a valid means of protecting the environment.
The court in Paris said on its website on Friday that the 2011 law “conforms to the constitution” and is not “disproportionate”.
France banned fracking in 2011 and cancelled exploration licences held by companies including Schuepbach and Total SA, the country’s biggest oil company, after protests by environmental groups.
Schuepbach Energy LLC, a Dallas-based explorer, complained to the court that the law was unfair after having two exploration permits revoked because of the ban. President François Hollande has said France won’t allow exploration of shale gas energy even as the country seeks to reduce its reliance on nuclear energy and keep down costs for consumers.
“It’s a judicial victory but also an environmental and political victory,” French environment minister, Philippe Martin, said today after the ruling. “With this decision the ban on hydraulic fracturing is absolute.”
The technique, which involves blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals underground to release oil and gas from shale rock, has raised the ire of environmental groups who fear groundwater contamination.
Schuepbach argued in court in September that there isn’t a study that establishes risks from fracking. The explorer also said the ban was unfair because the drilling technique may still be used in French geothermal energy projects.