I have been writing several posts on shale gas prospective explorations that Chevron is about to start in Romania in areas such as Barlad or Constanta. I have also highlighted some anti-Chevron street protests that unfolded in cities such as Oradea, Barlad, Cluj, Constanta (a heavy list) this year. Basically each month has its dedicated protest.
Why I am doing this? I am no environment activist myself nor have I been out marching in the pouring rain as some have done it. However it dawns on me the prospect of experiencing seismic activity in places where this should not be happening.
It was also shocking to remember that anti-shale gas agenda represented the main part of a parliamentary motion of no confidence that the then Deputy Victor Ponta now Prime Minister of Romania defended in Parliament in April 2012 to overthrow a former Government (i.e. Mihai Razvan Ungureanu Government) accusing it of selling the country to industrial interests.
Some weeks after the Ungureanu Cabinet fell and Victor Ponta became officially Prime Minister, the agenda changed right away as pro-shale gas exploration and exploitation became an inherent part of the Social-Liberal Union now in office and having the ruling majority in Parliament.
To be more precise, ok, we are quite aware that as Russians have their own particular industrial interests in Romania with Gazprom, so do Americans with Chevron, ExxonMobil to name but a few. There is no secret that the US have their own industrial agenda in here as well and they are performing a heavy lobby in accomplishing it.
Romania has already had its “industrial” delegation taken to Texas by the US to see shale gas exploration and exploitation by hydraulic fracturing. The Romanian officials were so overwhelmed with the idea of visiting Texas, the land of J.R. Ewing (who in real life said he had some credit in the 1989 Revolution and inception of Romanian capitalism), that they also argued they do not see why there is such a strong public opposition to shale gas fracking over here.
Today, another key official, Vice Prime Minister Liviu Dragnea argued in Oradea that Romanians should have a more practical angle regarding shale gas exploration while learning from the US successful experience. Liviu Dragnea said that people are not paying enough attention to those who are manipulating these street protests against shale gas. Yes, Mr. Dragnea, but you are not telling us anything we did not know before.
I agree all street protests have their own particular spark and angle but you must agree that Romanians did not pay enough attention last winter too when austerity protests were far from genuine and when the majority now in office backed anti-shale gas protests.
Viorel Hrebenciuc said it right and I quote from an earlier post on this: “Don’t you wonder how the public square appeared?. A crowd stays some 2 or 3 days in the square, then it starts to like it. Booze kiosks become available…“
However, Mr. Dragnea, I, myself would not like to experience earthquakes in protected natural areas where this should not be happening. Why not try it in your own backyard first and then let us know how it goes?