Brazil approves its first law against fracking in Paraná State after almost six years of campaigning with the support of cooperatives, authorities, NGOs and society, the Brazilian state is free from shale gas
11 July 2019 – People from a state in South Brazil now can say that are in favor of climate, water and life. On Wednesday, July 10th, the governor of Paraná State, Carlos Massa (Ratinho Jr), sanctioned the Law No. 18.878, which totally prohibits the exploitation of shale gas by the fracking method throughout its territory. The proposal, signed by the state deputies Evandro Araújo, Goura, Márcio Pacheco and Cristina Silvestri, had been approved last month.
Now, Paraná becomes the first state in all country to ban the practice. “After almost six years of mobilization, scientific research and work with legislators and experts carried out by the Coalition Non Fracking Brazil for Climate, Water and Life (COESUS), together with the International Institute Arayara and 350.org Brazil, we have this excellent achievement”, celebrates the Associate Director of Campaigns and Mobilizations of 350.org Latin America and director of COESUS, Juliano Bueno de Araújo. “Our work in the state of Paraná was hard and, thanks to the support of cooperatives, authorities, NGOs and all the society, today, more than 11 million people of Paraná can be relieved knowing that the gas of death will be far away from their lands. The sanction of the law brings the state as a pioneer in the history of Brazil, protecting our waters, our health, agriculture and economy. We chose to stay with life and now we follow as an example to other states so that they also say no to fracking!”.
The author of the bill in the Legislative Assembly, congressman Evandro Araújo, highlights the vanguardism of the state – which goes ahead in protecting its water, air and fertile soil. “During the whole process of presenting the bill, we showed that fracking does not meet the State’s vocation and that its use could cause irreparable damage to the environment and agricultural production, because where it was done in the world, it went wrong,” explains Araújo. Co-author Márcio Pacheco also highlights the importance of the ban for environmental protection and agriculture, which, for him, is the state’s greatest source of wealth.
For Goura, another author of the project, Paraná is increasingly gaining prominence in environmental policy by restricting a highly polluting energy extraction activity. “I believe that, from here on, we will be able to have a more proactive stance on other environmental issues for the state,” he adds. Finally, Congresswoman Cristina Silvestri celebrates the sanction of the law, considering it a great advance for Paraná. “Once again, the state is at the forefront of defending very important environmental issues, not only for us or for Brazil, but also for the planet.
Fracking is a technology used to extract gas from the shale’s pyrobetuminous husk – consisting of deep drilling of the soil to insert a pipe through which 7 to 30 million liters of water, sand and more than 700 toxic chemicals with carcinogenic potential – which can even be radioactive – are injected under high pressure to fracture the rock and then release the shale gas.
In contrast to several countries around the world, which have been promoting disinvestment in fossil fuels and prioritizing renewable energy projects, since 2013 the Brazilian government has insisted on commercially exploiting gas through fracking operations. To prevent this from happening, throughout the history of the Non-Fracking Brazil Campaign, conceived by COESUS, the teams – which involve environmentalists, scientists, geologists, hydrologists, engineers and biologists – have been making the population aware of the main adversities of the technique.
Among the risks that fracking can cause, there is the contamination of drinking water not only on the surface but also in underground sources, the sterilization of the soil, making it infertile for agriculture, contaminating production and making farming and tourism unviable – factors that drastically affect the generation of employment and income–; serious and irreversible damage to health, such as respiratory, cardiac and neurological problems, various types of cancer, congenital malformation, sterility in women, increased infant and perinatal mortality, low birth weight and premature births, in addition to intensifying climate change.