Mexico’s President-Elect Says He Will Ban Fracking

Mexico’s President-Elect Says He Will Ban Fracking
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Mexico’s president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said he will ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking) after he takes office on December 1, 2018. [1]

At a July 31st news conference, Obrador said:

“We will no longer use that method to extract petroleum.” [2]

The energy industry had hopes of extracting fuel from the shale-rich Burgos Basin in the north, but the populist president-elect’s plans would put the kibosh on that plan. Less than a year ago, Mexico’s national energy ministry opened the onshore portion of the basin for natural gas exploration and development by private countries.

Read: Carcinogenic Chemicals Contaminating Water Supply Through Fracking

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves spray water at a high pressure at shale rock formations to release the oil and natural gas inside. While the practice has been a boon to local economies, it often leads to numerous environmental risks, including air and water pollution. Many municipalities and in the U.S. and countries around the world have banned fracking.

Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter called the plan to ban fracking in Mexico “the latest common-sense decision by a world leader to prohibit this inherently toxic, polluting practice.”

He added:

“President-elect Obrador is moving in the right direction on many issues, including energy and the environment. He can move even further by pledging to transition Mexico to a fully clean, renewable energy future, thereby setting a remarkable example for its neighbors to the north.” [2]

Obrador also criticized the 2013 privatization of oil and gas reserves that had long been under the control of the state-owned Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), saying:

“The neoliberal governments deliberately closed the CFE plants in order to buy electricity from foreign companies at very high prices … All of that will be corrected.” [2]

Read: 5 Fracking Consequences You’ve Never Heard About

The privatization of the reserves approved by departing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto opened up the Burgos Basin’s rich petroleum reserves to international oil and gas companies apart from solely the state-owned company Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX). [3]

Foreign pipeline countries, such as TransCanada and Sempra Energy, are facing lawsuits filed on behalf of Indigenous people and grassroots activists in Mexico who are trying to stop the companies from flooding the country’s energy grid with U.S.-produced natural gas extracted via fracking. All oil and gas auctions have been placed on hold until Obrador takes office.

Sources:

[1] Associated Press Featured image source (edited): AP Photo / Moises Castillo

[2] Common Dreams

[3] Nation of Change