NaturalBlaze

Mexico’s New President Will Ban Fracking

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By Heather CallaghanEditor

Mexico’s newly elected President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, will step into office on December 1. His first order of business as the leader of Mexico is the immediate ban of hydraulic fracturing – aka fracking.

Obrador is already gaining a reputation as “the People’s President” as he told the Associated Press on Tuesday, “We will no longer use that method to extract petroleum.”

This decision obviously flies in the face of what Big Oil and the energy corporations want as they have circled the shale-rich Burgos Basin like vultures.

EcoWatch reports:

…It was only less than a year ago when Mexico’s national energy ministry opened the onshore portion of the Burgos Basin for natural gas exploration and development by private companies.

The horizontal drilling technique is used to unlock oil and natural gas deposits from shale beds. Fracking has significantly ramped up natural gas extraction and has aided local economies, but opponents say that fracking pollutes the air and groundwater, among other environmental and public health concerns…

[…]

According to the AP, Lopez Obrador also spoke against private electricity generation contracts that have displaced the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission, or CFE.

“The neoliberal governments deliberately closed the CFE plants in order to buy electricity from foreign companies at very high prices,” Lopez Obrador said. “All of that will be corrected.”

Thomas Tunstall, Research Director for the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Institute of Economic Development, pointed out to DeSmog that Mexico’s potential fracking ban is mostly symbolic.

“Near-term, a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Mexico would have no impact, economically or environmentally. Unlike the United States, Mexico has substantial untapped conventional oil and gas reserves: shallow water, deep water and even onshore conventional,” Tunstall said. “In addition, most of the unconventional/shale opportunities lie in Northern Mexico, which lacks significant infrastructure (housing, roads, rail, skilled workforce). Best estimates are that any unconventional oil and gas production activity in Mexico is at least 5-10 years away, no matter what government policy is.”

Food & Water Watch’s executive director Wenonah Hauter praised the decision to ban fracking, telling DeSmog:

The plan to ban fracking in Mexico represents the latest common-sense decision by a world leader to prohibit this inherently toxic, polluting practice. 

President-elect Obrador is moving in the right direction on many issues, including energy and the environment. He can move even farther by pledging to transition Mexico to a fully clean, renewable energy future, thereby setting a remarkable example for its neighbors to the north.

We couldn’t agree more since many U.S. municipalities have finally banned the practice after it was discovered to have polluted drinking water.

Mexico’s populist President is merely following in the footsteps of Germany, Ireland, Scotland and other countries who have banned fracking.