Romanian Shale Gas: Protests Are Being Manipulated. We Should Think About Ourselves, Official Says

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.

A protester holds banners during a protest over a decision by Romania's government to award exploration rights to US giant Chevron to drill for shale gas at the Black Sea shore in the region of Dobrogea, in downtown Bucharest in this picture taken March 30, 2012.Romania is among the best placed of Europe's ex-communist countries dreaming of escape from reliance on Russian gas, as its newly accessible shale deposits place self-sufficiency within its grasp. The obstacle, as elsewhere, stems from fears that extracting gas from shale will pollute water for drinking and farms. U.S. energy major Chevron wants to start drilling for shale gas exploration near the town of Barlad and campaigners have organised protests ahead of elections on Dec. 9, demanding a nationwide ban. The current moratorium on shale exploration could be lifted when voter pressure subsides after the vote. Picture taken March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel/Files

A protester holds banners during a protest over a decision by Romania’s government to award exploration rights to US giant Chevron to drill for shale gas at the Black Sea shore in the region of Dobrogea, in downtown Bucharest in this picture taken March 30, 2012.Romania is among the best placed of Europe’s ex-communist countries dreaming of escape from reliance on Russian gas, as its newly accessible shale deposits place self-sufficiency within its grasp. The obstacle, as elsewhere, stems from fears that extracting gas from shale will pollute water for drinking and farms. U.S. energy major Chevron wants to start drilling for shale gas exploration near the town of Barlad and campaigners have organised protests ahead of elections on Dec. 9, demanding a nationwide ban. The current moratorium on shale exploration could be lifted when voter pressure subsides after the vote. Picture taken March 30, 2012. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel/Files

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?

Related posts:

Chevron Gets Another Shale Gas Protest in Barlad, Romania

Chevron Fracks Open Communication With Romanian Goverment

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About Cristina Popa

Cristina is a WordPress blogger who regularly writes or shares updates on media, public affairs and various topics of interest. You may follow her on Communication for Development WP blog or Twitter @CristinaPopa0
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11 Responses to Romanian Shale Gas: Protests Are Being Manipulated. We Should Think About Ourselves, Official Says

  1. george-b says:

    Reblogged this on euzicasa and commented:
    1947? once again? Stay sovereign and independent!

    • Cristina P. says:

      Thanks for re-blogging. I appreciate it. It’s either West or East, either way it’s less about being sovereign as the country itself has “fracked” its own industrial potential after 1989.

      • george-b says:

        Yes… too bad that people did not remember the terrible price we had to pay when foreign corporations exploited our resources and workforce alike, taking the profit out of the country!

  2. Cristina P. says:

    People forget and forgive easily unfortunately and then they do it again.

    • Cristina P. says:

      Thanks for visiting my blog and your interest in this particular topic. Will drop by anytime! However, reffering to your related post on this topic, here is my opinion: protests ARE being manipulated on shale gas this year as they were last year. If you look through referendums in the areas in which Chevron got its permits, civil conscience amounted to nothing! Locals were just not interested that’s why Chevron got its authorizations. Now, what we call protests these days on shale gas belong to NGO’s not local communities. These NGO’s do bring people from around the country to form consistent protests where “the thing is”. These people are not brought for free. They weren’t brought for free last year and they were not protesting for free last winter in the freezing cold. Political influence, no matter where it stems from, left or right does have its part here. I am not saying all of the people protesting are influenced, but you may allow me to say that a grand majority is. And I’m talking on facts. As far as Dragnea is concerned, Romania has had its delegation taken to Texas, so he is just talking stories for people to chew on.

      • Ruxandra says:

        Hi Cristina, thanks for your comment. I have no reason to doubt your opinion on this as to the political manoeuvring taking place. I was taking a different approach focusing very much on the lack of process. There is a complete whitewash by the government of the underlying risks this type of extraction poses. And while all other countries are enlisting their scientists for further investigation, these comprehensive scientific studies are sadly lacking from the debate in Romania.

      • Cristina P. says:

        Hi Ruxandra, I agree with that. But the other Government was taking the same approach last year too. That is, they have in mind energetic independence and that’s that. It’s a utopic dream they’re having over here, basically it’s about money, politics, less about environment. You should see how much is the State’s contribution in education and research. There were a lot of public policies implemented without further reseach or investigation, that is why this particular situation is not new, just sad for those of us living in key areas

      • Ruxandra says:

        well…… where on earth/ or blog (take your pick) do I find your email details please? I just finished my work day (sort of) and would really like to get in touch with you…

        It is very sad. Deplorable actually. I was born there, still have family and friends and well … a lot of sentiments really which is why i’m so adamant about all of this. Stay tuned (in between our crazy time zone difference) and warm greetings to you from down under, your blog and tone are commendable indeed.

      • Cristina P. says:

        Thanks for the warm greetings cause it’s kind of freezing in Cluj now!

      • Ruxandra says:

        ….and the reason for my interest in this, is bc we are in the business of water law, water governance to be precise. hence the tone for our blog as well. we’re interested in how people manage/ mis-manage their water resources and keen to point out to them the far ranging consequences such actions/ omissions will have. have a nice day in Cluj :)!

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