EU: Poland is breaking law on assessing environmental impact of fracking.

Guardian: “The European commission has begun legal proceedings against Poland for amending its national laws to allow shale drills at depths of up to 5,000 metres without first having assessed the potential environmental impacts, EurActiv has learned.”
“In June, Brussels sent Poland formal notice that it was opening a case against it for infringing the environmental impact assessment (EIA) directive.
If Warsaw does not now satisfy the commission’s concerns by the end of August, the case could reach the European court of justice (ECJ).
Poland says that an amendment to its EIA law in June 2013 limits shale drills in ‘sensitive’ areas such as Natura 2,000 sites to 1,000m.
But “as shale gas reserves in Poland are located mostly at a depth 1,000-4,500m and the ‘sensitive’ areas cover only 23% of the Polish territory, the new thresholds de facto exclude most shale gas exploration projects in Poland from the scope of the EIA directive,” Joe Hennon, a spokesman for the environment commissioner, Janez Potočnik, told EurActiv.
This law obliges shale gas producers to analyse and report on factors including volumes of water used, numbers of wells created, and the environmental impact of heavy truck traffic to and from shale sites.
The location of projects and risk of accidents also have to be accounted for, particularly in forests and densely-populated urban areas.
European firms have little experience of hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – to extract shale gas, and “studies indicate that this technology creates high risks of groundwater and surface water contamination, as well as risks to air quality and biodiversity,” Hennon said. He added that governments planning shale drills needed first to address these “essential and relevant criteria” under EU law.
If European states choose to snub EU law, the ECJ has the power to levy substantial penalties. It rarely does so but Belgium, for instance,was recently fined €42,000 (£33,241) a day for not correctly implementing an energy efficiency directive.
….Poland’s ambition to use shale gas as a lever to increase its energy independence from Russia has been hit by the pull-out of big industry players such as Marathon OilExxonMobil and Talisman.
….A few months before that, Poland’s prime minister Donald Tusk sacked his environment minister Marcin Korolec, in a move which he said was “about radical acceleration of shale gas operations”.
Lobbying by Poland and the UK is thought to have stymied a directiveregulating shale drills that the commission’s environment directorate had planned to include in its 2030 climate and energy package of EU legislation, announced in January.
….New research by Friends of the Earth suggests that industrial lobbying affected the EU’s shale gas policy-making process, with business groups holding at least 10 times more meetings with EU officials about the proposed legislation, than did NGOs.”