Quantcast

Newly Elected President of Mexico to Ban Fracking

Energy
Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Agencia de Noticias ANDES

Mexico's president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he will end the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, once he enters office on Dec. 1.

"We will no longer use that method to extract petroleum," the populist politician said Tuesday at a press conference, as quoted by the Associated Press.


This is a setback for the energy industry that has eyed Mexico's shale-rich Burgos Basin in the north, DeSmog reported. 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. The technique has been banned in many U.S. municipalities and countries around the world.

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

"President-elect Obrador is moving in the right direction on many issues, including energy and the environment," Hauter added. "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."

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."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Two tankers leaving the Tamborine Mountain after being held up for two hours by TM Extinction Rebellion on Dec. 6.

A school in Queensland, Australia sent a note home to parents asking them to send their children with extra water bottles since its water supply has run dry, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Read More Show Less
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a press statement on the European Green Deal at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on Dec. 11, 2019. Xinhua / Zheng Huansong via Getty Images

The European Commission introduced a plan to overhaul the bloc's economy to more sustainable, climate-conscious policies and infrastructure, with the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2050, according to CNBC.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Young activists shout slogans on stage after Greta Thunberg (not in the picture) took part in the plenary session during the COP25 Climate Conference on Dec. 11 in Madrid, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Young activists took over and occupied the main stage at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain Wednesday and demanded world leaders commit to far more ambitious action to address the ecological emergency.

Read More Show Less
A NASA image showing the ozone hole at its maximum extent for 2015. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

The Montreal Protocol, a 1987 international treaty prohibiting the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to save the ozone layer, was the first successful multilateral agreement to successfully slow the rate of global warming, according to new research. Now, experts argue that similar measures may lend hope to the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Example of starlings murmuration pictured in Scotland. Tanya Hart / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Police in Wales are in the midst of an unusual investigation: the sudden death of more than 200 starlings.

Read More Show Less