France's lower house, the National Assembly [official website, in French], approved a bill [TA Bill No. 658, materials, in French] on Wednesday to prohibit the drilling of gas and oil through hydraulic fracturing [EPA backgrounder] and to repeal hydraulic fracturing licenses granted to companies. The bill also requires license holders to submit a report within two months detailing the techniques used to mine for oil and gas. A list of the exclusive licenses to be repealed will appear in the Official Journal within three months if the bill becomes law. The bill was passed on a first reading. It must now be approved by the Senate.
Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, has become a controversial issue as it is implemented in the US and around the world. Hydraulic fracturing is a process in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped into the ground to create fractures in rocks which allows trapped gas and oil to come to surface. Environmental and health concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing include contamination of ground water, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface and the potential mishandling of waste.