US firm's legal action threatens French ban on shale gas

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In 2011 the possibility of exploiting France's underground shale gas reserves seemed to be over with the passing of a new law banning the so-called hydraulic fracturing method of extracting it. Yet just two years later that ban is under challenge from an American energy company which claims it is unconstitutional. Jade Lindgaard reports on a legal counter attack by one small association to protect a law it believes is saving the environment from grave potential harm.

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In 2011 the French government passed a law banning the technique of hydraulic fracturing or 'fracking' to extract shale gas from underground rock layers. The move was hailed as a victory for environmentalists and local action groups around the country who had lobbied against the use of a technique they say could potentially cause great harm to the environment.