The Vaslui County Council last week issued the fourth zoning permit for Chevron Romania. The zoning permit is a necessary step for the oil company to secure a building permit for a new shale gas exploration well near Puiesti village.
Before Chevron can obtain the building permit, it must get environmental approvals and permission from local water company Apele Romane and the National Agency for Mineral Resources.
Last month, the Vaslui Environmental Protection Agency’s Technical Analysis Committee announced it would allow the oil giant to drill shale gas exploration bores in three other locations in Vaslui County -- Paltinis (Bacesti), Silistea (Pungesti) and Popeni (Gagesti).
On July 9, Romanian Environment Minister Rovana Plumb said there was “no risk” to the environment and public health from shale gas exploration and that the opposition “points of view” expressed by Vaslui residents in public debates are “99.9 percent related to shale gas exploitation and not exploration.”
Doug Uchikura, deputy general manager of Chevron Continental Europe, said his company accepts that opposition to its projects is par for the course.
“Opinions must be heard, evidence and scientific proofs must be required. But science does not confirm the accusations related to environment, air and soil contamination,” Uchikura said.
Residents of the village of Banca in Vaslui County said they would hold a protest against shale gas exploration and against Chevron on September 1. The villagers said they believed exploration would be followed by shale gas exploitation, and this would affect their limited drinking water resources.