Some 2,000 anti-fracking demonstrators gathered outside government buildings in the Romanian capital Bucharest in solidarity with residents of rural Pungesti. The village is located near a site where drilling is due to begin.
US energy giant Chevron has been given the green light to explore for shale gas in Romania using the controversial method of hydraulic fracturing, known as ‘fracking’.
Hundreds of Pungesti residents have been demonstrating for days, managing to block Chevron’s access to the site where work is scheduled to start.
The protesting villagers fear that fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into deep rock formations, could make their water unsafe.
One local said, “This will affect the underground water and our wells will dry out. When these toxic and carcinogenic substances get into our drinking water we’ll fall ill and die.”
Chevron says its priority is operating in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, but environmentalists believe that hydraulic fracturing could contaminate Pungesti’s water and potentially cause small earthquakes.