Over at the FROG Leonie Reins and myself report on the minimum principles which the European Commission have adopted for shale gas regulation. A recommendation only – not a proposal for Directive or Regulation. However there are plenty of references to what some in the industry see as stifling measures, such as baseline reporting and EIA.
The recommendation does not provide new munition for either proponents or opponents of the activity. It remains to be seen how Member States implement these recommendations in practice (they are to report by end 2014) and whether such minimum principles are enough to regulate an activity which is associated with so many uncertainties and which faces public opposition and political debate in nearly all Member States. A strict interpretation of the precautionary principle would certainly ask for “more”; but “more” might come in the future: the Commission is buying time with these minimum principles, having the European elections in spring 2014 in mind.