The Federal Court in Brazil has declared the prohibition to use the hydraulic fracturing technology (fracking) to extract fossil fuels in the state of Alagoas. Following Piauí, Sao Paulo, Acre and Paraná, Alagoas thus became the fifth Brazilian state to prohibit fracking in its territory.
This sentence is the result of the efforts of the Coalizão Não Fracking Brasil (No-Fracking Brazil Coalition) to raise awareness and support the state attorney’s office in the process of filing a lawsuit against the National Oil and Gas Agency to prevent shale gas exploration and the allocation of new lands for exploration.
The coalition has held several meetings, public hearings and outreach actions to engage communities and local governments in preventing the use of fracking to keep Brazilian communities, the environment and crucial water resources safe from the threats this technology represent.
Eighty municipalities have committed to fight fracking locally, and 56 cities have already achieved its prohibition through local legal action.
“This is a fight we can win,” stated Nicole Figueiredo de Oliveira, 350.org Brazil Team Leader and part of the Coalizão Não Fracking Brasil. “Together with the local governments and the communities, we are winning and we will defeat the fossil fuels industry.”
The Coalizão Não Fracking Brasil along with communities and local partners are now gearing up to take part in the global wave of actions to “Break Free from Fossil Fuels” that will take place this May. Mobilisations across the states of Acre, Ceará, Espíritu Santo and Paraná will highlight the negative impacts of the country’s extractive policies, including oil, gas, fracking and mining, as well as the great potential that the country’s natural resources offer to develop clean energy sources, keep the forests standing and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside. Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well. The term fracking refers to how the rock is fractured apart by the high pressure mixture.
Environmentalists say potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site. The industry suggests pollution incidents are the results of bad practice, rather than an inherently risky technique.
There are also worries that the fracking process can cause small earth tremors.
Campaigners say that fracking is simply distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.