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France court upholds ban on hydraulic fracturing

France Constitutional Council [official website, in French] on Friday upheld [text, in French] France's ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking [JURIST feature], finding that banning the controversial natural gas extraction process is a valid means of protecting the environment. The issue was brought before the council by representatives of Schuepbach Energy [corporate website], a US based energy explorer that had two exploration permits revoked because of the ban. Fracking was banned in France [EIA country profile] in 2011. French President Francois Hollande [official website, in French] has heavily opposed fracking in France along with the Greens [party website, in French] party, a member of Hollande's ruling coalition government.

Fracking has been a contentious issue in the US and throughout the world. In March the New York State Assembly [official website] approved a bill [JURIST report] imposing a more than two-year ban on fracking in the state. The measure was passed by a margin of 95 to 40 and would postpone any potential fracking until May 15, 2015. Also in March JURIST guest columnist Nicolas Parke debunked the rumors [JURIST op-ed] around fracking. In February JURIST guest columnist Samantha Peaslee detailed the future of fracking [JURIST op-ed] in Colorado in the wake of recent lawsuits against fracking companies in the state. In September 2012 Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection and Public Utility Commission [official websites] filed a brief arguing that a recent Pennsylvania court decision which struck down portions of a law allowing the state to determine where fracking could occur was an error [JURIST report]. In July 2012 North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed a bill [SB 820 materials; JURIST report] that would have lifted the state's ban on fracking. Last May Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed into law [JURIST report] a bill outlawing fracking in the state.

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